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The original Sanskrit attributed to Valmiki 

translated lo English by Vihari Laia Mitra 
edited by Thomas L. Paloias 

Yoga Vasishta by Valmiki 

The original Sanskrit attributed to Sage Valmiki 

translated to English by Vihari Lala Mitra (1891) 

edited by Thomas L. Palotas (2013) 

Publisher: Handloom Publishing 

Shivabalayogi Seva Foundation 

P.O. Box 64634, Tucson, Arizona U.S.A. 85728 

Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj International Trust 

Summary Table of Contents 


The Stories in Yoga Vasishta 


Book I — On Detachment 

Book II — The Aspirant Who Longs for Liberation 

Book in — On Creation 

Book IV — On Existence 

Book V — On Dissolution. Becoming Quiet 

Book VI. Part 1 — On Liberation 

Book VI. Part 2 — The Latter Treasury 

Dedicated to His Holiness, Shri Shri Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj . 

His Holiness Shri Shri Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj described Yoga Vasishta as the best spiritual 

treatise, being the least altered over time. He would not admit to being Vasishta himself, but he said 

he was present when Vasishta answered Rama's questions and evoked Rama's Self realization. 


agnishtoma — an ancient Vedic ceremony performed by a brahmin desirous of obtaining heaven. The 
ceremonies continue for five days with sixteen priests officiating. 

akshauhini — an ancient battle formation of 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 65,610 cavalry, and 
109,350 infantry. 

Agastya — considered a Tamil/Vedic sage is one of the Seven Sages (Saptarishi). He is credited 
with many mantras of the Rig Veda, and is also the author of Agastya Samhita (Agastya Collection). 
Once a clan of demons hid in the Cosmic Ocean so the gods could not defeat them. The gods appealed 
to Agastya who drank the entire ocean and held it within until the demons were destroyed. 

amalaki — (Emblica Officinalis) Indian gooseberry, a small tree whose fruit, in Ayurvedic healing 
tradition, is considered the most powerful rejuvenating medicine. 

Amaravati — the heavenly city of Indra, King of the Gods. 

apsara — beautiful, supernatural women; nymphs. They are youthful and elegant, and proficient in the 
art of dancing. They are the wives of the gandharvas, the court servants of Indra, the Lord of the Gods. 
They dance to the music made by their husbands, usually in the palaces of the gods, and entertain gods 
and fallen heroes. 

arghya — an offering of water as a token of respect. 

Aruna — the god who serves as the charioteer of the Sun. 

Arundhati — The wife of Vasishta. 

asura — power-seeking deities, sometimes considered sinful and materialistic. 

ativahika — In the Upanishads, refers to those who are deployed to carry the dead to the other world. 
Here, the meaning is the everlasting spiritual body. 

Ayodhya — the capital of Kosala, the kingdom ruled by Dasharata. 

bael — the bael (bel, bilva, wood apple) tree is considered sacred to Shiva. Its fruit, as large as a 
grapefruit, has a smooth, woody shell so hard it must be cracked with a hammer. The fibrous yellow 
pulp inside is very aromatic. 

Bali — (Mahabali, Great Bali) an asura demon, was the son of Devamba and Virochana. He grew up 
under the tutelage of his grandfather, Prahlada, who instilled in him a strong sense of righteousness 
and devotion. Bali would eventually succeed his grandfather as the king of the asuras, and his reign 
was characterized by peace and prosperity. He would later expand his realm and bring the entire 
world under his benevolent rule. He was even able to conquer the underworld and heaven, which he 
wrested from Indra and the gods. 

Bhairava — fierce, destructive manifestations of Shiva. 

Bharadwaja — a sage, one of the even rishis, the leading student of Valmiki, and considered the 
ancestor of all brahmins. 

Bharata — ("Emperor") legendary ruler of India after whom India and Indians are named. 

Brahma — God the Creator, also the father of Vasishta. 

Brahma rishi — the highest class of rishis (sages), one who has understood the meaning of Brahman, 
the highest divine knowledge. 

Brahmaloka — the heavenly world where Brahma resides. 

Brahman — the indescribable One. 

brahmin (fem. brahmani) — members of the priestly caste. 

Brihaspati — Sage and guru to the gods; identified with the planet Jupiter. 

chandala — a man born of the illegal union of a low caste shudra man with a woman of one of the 
three higher castes. They were regarded as the vilest and most abject of the men. 

chandrayana — a penance, including fasting, according to the lunar cycle. 

Charvaka — a system of Indian philosophy that dates back to the 7th C. BCE, around the same time 
as Buddhism and Jainism became popular. It assumes skepticism and religious indifference and is 
characterized as a materialistic and atheistic school. Charvakas believe only what the physical senses 
tangibly perceive. 

chataka — a kind of cuckoo (Cuculus Melanoleucus). Indian traditions suppose that it drinks only 
the water of the clouds, and their poets usually introduce allusions to this bird in connection with 
cloudy or rainy weather. 

chauri — a female hybrid of yak and hill cattle. 

Chitragupta — the god assigned to the task of keeping complete records of actions of human beings. 

daivam — fate, providence, god. 

dakini — in Indian tradition, female demons, vampires, and blood-drinkers feeding on human flesh. In 
tantric practice, she is a female embodiment of enlightened energy. 

dakshinayana — The sun's yearly movement is divided into two parts, uttarayana and 
daks hinay ana. Uttarayana starts with the winter solstice and dakshinayana starts with the summer 

Danava — a race of asuras, demi-gods. 

Dasharata — King of Kosala ruling from its capital of Ayodhya, and father of Rama. 

dvijas — the three higher castes: brahmins (priests), kshatriyas (rulers and warriors) and vaishyas 
(traders and landowners). The second birth relates to assuming their roles in society. 

eight elements — the eight basic elements are earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and 
identity. The first five elements are the gross aspects of matter, and the last three are the subtle 
aspects of matter. 

five elements — earth, water, fire, air, space (akasha). 

fourteen worlds — lokas or dimensions. The seven higher (heavens) lokas are: the three planes in 
which the gods live: satya (truth, the highest); tapas (spiritual austerities; meditation in samadhi); and 
jnana (creative, knowledge); mahar (spiritual masters), svar (heaven of Indra); bhuvar (demigods); 
and bhu (material world, the earth). The lower ones (the "seven underworlds" or patalas) are atala, 
vitala, sutala, rasaataala, talatala, mahaatala, paatala. 

gandharva — male nature spirits, husbands of the apsaras. Some are part animal, usually a bird or 
horse. They have superb musical skills and made beautiful music for the gods in their palaces. 

garima — one of the siddhis (powers) acquired through yoga in which the yogi swallows and 
compresses great draughts of air. 

garuda — a lesser deity, part man and part eagle, known as the eternal sworn enemy of the naaga 
serpent race. His image is often used as the charm to protect the bearer from snake attack and poison, 
and the garudi vidya is a mantra to remove snake poison and all other kinds of evil. 

Gauri — "Golden", a name of Goddess Parvati, considered the spouse of God Shiva. 

gunas — Three primary gunas are the fundamental qualities or operating principles in creation: 
sattvas (purity, balance, preservation), rajas (action, creation, power) and tamas (lethargy, passivity, 

Hara — name of Shiva meaning Destroyer (i.e., the destroyer of illusion). 

Hari — name of Vishnu meaning Tawny (yellowish-brown) or Remover. 

hatha yoga — has the meaning of forceful yoga. It is a system of physical exercises to promote health 
and prepare the body for long meditation. It is what most people in the West association with the 
word yoga. 

ichor — fragrant secretion from a rutting elephant's temples. 

Indra — King of the gods; his vehicle is Airavat, the eight trunked elephant. 

jagat — "all that moves", the created universe. 

Janaka — Self realized King of Videha and father of Sita, the wife of Rama. 

jiva — the individual soul. The root meaning of jiva is to breathe, which implies movement. The 
Latin vivus (alive) shares the same Indo-European origin. 

kaivalya — Absolute oneness, aloneness; perfect detachment, freedom. Kaivalya is the term used in 
the yoga tradition to name the goal and fulfillment of yoga, the state of complete detachment from 

kalpa — 4,320,000,000 years. Two kalpas are a day and night of Brahma. 

kalpa tree — mythical wish- fulfilling tree. 

Kama — the god of love, as in lust. 

Kapali — "Skull-bearer", a name of Goddess and a reference to sadhus (ascetics, holy men) who 
worship God in this form. 

kinnara — the paradigm of a lover, a celestial musician, half- human and half- horse. 

Kirata — the Kirat are indigenous ethnic groups of the mid-hills of the Himalayas, extending 
eastward from Nepal into India, Burma and beyond. Kirata is a general reference to peoples of the 
Himalayan foothills in India, i.e., Mongol-type peoples. 

Kosala — the kingdom ruled by Dasharata. 

kshetrajna — a compound of kshetra (body) and -jna (knower). Because what one knows 

encompasses the field of one's sphere of action, it could be translated as field-knower, or witness 

kumbhaka breathing — an advanced practice of breath control (pranayama) to regulate the mind 
and increase concentration. 

kusa (kusha) grass — a long, sharp edged grass considered sacred and used to cover a meditation 

Lakshman — Rama's brother. 

Lakshmi — goddess of abundance, wealth; considered the spouse of God Vishnu. 

linga deha — the subtle or astral body. 

loka — world, dimension, environment. Variously numbered three or fourteen. 

Lokaloka — world and no world, a magnificent belt of mountains girdling the outermost of the seven 
seas and dividing the visible world from the region of darkness. 

Mahadeva — "Great God", a name of Shiva. 

Mandakini — a sacred river that flows from near Kedarnath in the Himalayas into the Ganges. The 
celestial Mandakini River is the Milky Way. 

mandara (flower) — Datura stramonium, a flower considered sacred to the gods and often planted 
by temples. 

Mandara Mountain — mythical mountain used by the gods and demons to churn the milky sea and 
separate the nectar of immortality from the poison. 

manvantara — an age of Manu, the first man in Indian cosmology. Fourteen such lifetimes make a 
kalpa, a day of Brahma. 

Meru (Sumeru) — mythical mountain considered to be the center of the universe, around which the 
sun, moon, planets and stars revolve. 

moksha — release from the cyclical flow of birth, life, death and rebirth. 

muni — an ancient rishi. 

nag, naag — a divine snake or cobra; races of such beings. 

Nandana — garden of paradise. 

Narada — an ancient sage devoted to Vishnu. Narada is the guru of Valmiki. 

Narasimha — the half- man, half-lion major avatar of Vishnu. He was created to destroy the demon 
Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, that Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by a 
human, a god, or an animal. Narasimha' s nature is that of divine anger. 

Narayana — God Vishnu resting on waters, or on the coiled form of Sesa-naaga, the endless serpent. 
Narayana is associated with Brahma the Creator as well as Vishnu the Sustainer. 

nirvikalpa samadhi — formless samadhi in which there is no longer any sense of individual identity 
and no thought; the ultimate Self realization. 

pisacha — the fading remnant of a human being, considered to be a malevolent astral being. 

prana — vital energy (literally, airs), the subtle life force that circulates in the channels (nadis) of the 
astral (subtle) body and associated with the breath but more subtle. Comparable to Chinese chi (qi). 

pranava yoga — the controller of life force {prana, vital breath) is the sound Om (sometimes spelled 
Aum) the most sacred word in yoga. Meditation on the sound of Om is pranava yoga. 

pranayama — the science of breath (life force, prana) control. 

Puranas — a genre of important Indian religious texts, myths and histories, fromc. 200-1500 AD. 

pushkaravarta — (frompushkara, water, and vrita, to have place in, i.e., a watery cloud) a name 
for the flood clouds of the world-destroying deluge. 

Raghava, Raghu — the dynasty of King Dasharata and Rama. 

raja yoga — the king of yoga because its practices focus on controlling the mind, which controls the 
individual ego. It consists of a series of practices that culminates in meditation without form focused 
between the eyebrows. 

rajas — the quality of action or force; one of the three gunas. 

rajasuya — a sacrifice performed by the ancient kings of India who considered themselves powerful 
enough to be an emperor. Rajasuya would occur after the king's generals returned from a successful 
military campaign. The ceremony was religious and political because it implied that he who instituted 
the sacrifice was a supreme lord, a king over kings, and his tributary princes were required to be 
present at the rite. 

rakshasa (fern, rakshasi) — supernatural humanoids, some good and others malicious. They are 
powerful warriors, expert magicians, illusionists and shape-changers. 

Rama — A major incarnation (avatar) of God Vishnu. He was born, in part, because of a curse by 
Anaranya, Rama's ancestor, against Ravana. When Ravana subjugated Anaranya, the dying Anaranya 
cursed Ravana to die at the hands of his great-grandson (Rama) in later generations. 

Ramayana — the epic story, some 24,000 verses {slokas), of the life of Rama attributed to sage 
Valmiki. With the Mahabharata, it forms the two great epic stories of Hindu culture. Ramayana can 
also refer to the Yoga Vasishta as its full title is the Yoga Vasishta Maharamayana. 

Rati — one of the two wives of Kama, the god of love. 

Ravana — the ten- headed rakshasa demon King of Lanka and antagonist of Rama. He was born of a 
brahmin father and a daitya rakshasa mother. Ravana performed tapas to God Brahma, chopping off 
his own head ten times to appease the god. He became an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. 

rishi — one who speaks the truth; an ancient sage. 

Rudra — an ancient name of Shiva. The Rudras are forms and followers of Rudra- Shiva, eleven in 
number. The Rudras are described as the loyal companions or messengers of Shiva, often fearful in 

sacred thread — symbolizes coming of age. It is usually made of three cotton strands, variously 
symbolizing the debts owed to God (or guru), ancestors and sages, or purity of mind, word and deed. 

saligrama — a stone found at the Gantaki River in Nepal, sacred with the presence of God in the 

form of Vishnu. 

samadhi — various higher states of consciousness in which the mind has become still. 

Samkhya — one of the six schools of classical Indian philosophy and is regarded as one of the oldest 
philosophical systems in India. Samkhya denies the existence of any external God and is strongly 
dualist. It regards the universe as consisting of two realities: purusha (consciousness) andprakriti 
(phenomenal realm of matter). Samkhya, is one of the six schools of classical Indian philosophy that 
recognize Vedic authority. 

samsara — the continuous flow of birth, life, death, rebirth or reincarnation. 

Sanatkumara — one of the four mind-born sons of Brahma. 

Saraswati — the goddess of learning and the arts; traditionally considered the spouse of God Brahma 
the Creator. 

sattva — purity, the most subtle of the three gunas qualities. 

Seven Rishis (saptarishi) — the list of seven varies somewhat depending upon the tradition, but they 
are associated with the Pleides or the seven stars of the constellation Big Dipper (Ursa Major) and 
include Vasishta. 

sharabha — a mythical creature, whether eight-legged deer-like or goat-like, able to kill lions and 

Shastras — scriptures. 

Shesha — king of all naagas (snakes), one of the primal beings of creation. He is said to hold all the 
planets of the Universe on his hoods and to constantly sing the glories of Vishnu from all his mouths. 
As Anantha Shesha (endless Shesha) or Adishesha (first Shesha), when he uncoils, time moves 
forward and creation takes place. When he coils back, the universe ceases to exist. "Shesha" also 
means remainder, that which remains when all else ceases to exist. 

Shiva — God the Destroyer (of illusion); God in the form of a yogi. Also called Mahadeva (Great 
God), Hara (Destroyer) and Rudra. 

shradh — derived from shra ddha which means faith or respect to someone. It refers to a two week 
period in autumn considered particularly auspicious for offerings to the souls of dead ancestors. 

shudra — the lowest of the four castes; workers. 

Shuka (Shukadeva) — Sage, son of sage Vyasa. Dispassionate as a boy, his father sent him to King 
Janaka for training and enlightenment. 

Shukra — the name the son of Bhrigu. He is the guru of the demigods and asuras (demons), and is 
identified with the planet Venus. He is also referred to as Bhargava because he is a descendant of 

siddha — adept, spiritual master. 

Sruti (Shruti) — sacred Indian texts. 

Subramanyan — Son of God Shiva, also known as Kartikeya, Skanda and Murigan. His vehicle is 
the peacock. 

Sumeni — Mount Mem; the prefix "su" gives the meaning "excellent Mem" or "wonderful Mem." 

suras — minor, benevolent deities. 

swaha — an interjection, approximately "hail!" indicating the end of a mantra. Whenever fire 
sacrifices are made, swaha is chanted with each offering at the end of each repetition of a mantra. 

tamas — darkness, dullness, passivity; the lowest of the three gunas (qualities). 

tapas (penance) — spiritual austerity; meditation in samadhi. Upon successful completion of tapas, 
god manifests and grants whatever boon the tapasvin (person who does tapas) desires. 

ten directions (dikh) — four cardinal (north, south, east, west), four intermediate (northeast, 
northwest, southeast and southwest) and zenith and nadir (up and down). 

three-fold — creation, preservation, and destruction; waking, sleeping, and dreaming; and 
supernatural, natural, and material. Also, rajas, tamas and sattva. 

three worlds — the physical world of desire (kama loka), the mental world of form (rupa loka), and 
the spiritual world without form (arupa loka). Alternatively, bhutakasha, element-space; 
chittakasha, mind-space; and chidakasha, consciousness-space. Living beings within the world of 
desire have desire, greed and lust. Living beings within the world of form do not have such heavy 
desire. However, they still have form and appearance. The third plane of existence, the spiritual 
world, is considered the abode of the gods and other shining beings who received various forms and 
states according to their acts and desires. 

Tumburu — the best among the gandharvas or celestial musicians. The best of singers, he performs 
in the courts of the gods and leads the gandharvas in their singing. 

twice-born — (dvijd) those of the three higher castes, brahmins, kshatriyas, and vaishyas, who take a 
second "birth" by wearing a sacred thread. 

two holes — The whole sphere of air is thought to teem with individual souls and spirits that rove 
freely until they are made to enter and pass out of the body by two unknown holes, possibly the 
nostrils, eye sockets or opening of the windpipe. 

Uchchaihshravas — the seven- headed flying horse obtained during the churning of the milk ocean. It 
is considered the best of horses, prototype and king of horses. He is often described as the vehicle of 
Indra and is said to be snow white in color. 

uttarayana — The sun's yearly movement is divided into two parts, uttarayana and dakshinayana. 
Uttarayana starts with the winter solstice and dakshinayana starts with the summer solstice. 

Vaikuntha — the heavenly world where Vishnu resides. 

Vaishnava — a devotee of Vishnu or any of Vishnu's many incarnations. 

Valmiki — The Uttara Khanda tells the story of Valmiki's early life, a highway robber named Valya 
Koli who used to rob people after killing them. Once, the robber tried to rob the divine sage Narada 
for the benefit of his family. Narada asked him if his family would share the sin he was incurring due 
to the robbery. The robber replied positively, but Narada told him to confirm this with his family. The 
robber asked his family, but none agreed to bear the burden of sin. Dejected, the robber finally 
understood the truth of life and asked for Narada's forgiveness. Narada taught the robber to worship 

God. The robber meditated for many years, so much so that ant-hills grew around his body. Finally, a 
divine voice declared his penance successful, bestowing him with the name Valmiki, "one born out of 

vasana — the impressions stored in the mind: memories, attitudes, habits, etc. 

Vasishta — ancient sage and one of the Seven Rishis (saptarishi) associated with the seven stars of 
the constellation Big Dipper (Ursa Major). 

Vasudeva — The name of Krishna's father and also a patronymic name for Lord Krishna himself. 

Vedanta — Indian philosophy based on the Vedas and Upanishads; also synonymous with 
Upani shads. 

Vedas — a large body of ancient Indian scriptures consisting of the hymns, formulas and incantations 
of the Rig Veda (the oldest, dating to c. 1700-1100 BC), Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda. 
The Vedic period ends c. 500 BC. 

vetala — a ghost-like being that inhabits corpses and cemeteries; analogous to a vampire. 

vidyadhara — (vidhya = wisdom, dhara = bearing, feminine vidyadhari) a type of supernatural being 
possessing magical powers and dwelling in the Himalayas. They also attend God Shiva, who lives in 
the Himalayas. They are considered semi-gods. 

Vijnanavada — a school of Buddhist philosophy that consciousness (vijnana) is real, but its objects 
are constructions and unreal. 

Vishnu — God the Sustainer, along with Brahma the Creator and Shiva the Destroyer, one of the three 
primary manifestations of God. Also known as Hari and Narayana. 

Vishwamitra — a valiant warrior and king in ancient India. As king, he quarreled with the sage 
Vasishta who used his spiritual powers attained through tapas to destroy his army. This made 
Vishwamitra undertake tapas for a thousand years. He is also called Kausika ("the descendant of 
Kusha") and the son of Gadhi. To Vishwamitra is attributed the Gayatri Manta. 

vital airs — see prana. 

Vyasa — A rishi, also called Krishna Dvaipayana, referring to his complexion and birthplace. 

yaksha — a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural 
treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots. 

Yama — god of the underworld. His vehicle is the buffalo. 

yogini — female yogi. 

yuga — There are four yugas in a cycle of divine time: Satya Yuga (Golden Age) of 1,728,000 years, 
Treta Yuga (Age of Silver) of 1,296,000, Dvapara Yuga (Bronze Age) of 864,000 years, and Kali 
Yuga (Iron Age) of 432,000 years, for a total of 4,320,000 years. A thousand yuga cycles is a kalpa 
which is 4,320,000,000 years. Two kalpas are a day and night of Brahma. 

The Stories in Yoga Vasishta 

Summary of and links to many of the stories in Yoga Vasishta. 
References are to Book. Chapter. sloka. 

Book I: On Detachment 

King Arishtanemi 

In this opening story of Yoga Vasishta , sage Agnivesya tells his son, Karunya the story of what 
Indra's heavenly messenger told the nymph, Suruchi, and it is the story of King Arishanemi who 
declines the offer of Indra's heaven because it is impermanent. Indra instructs the king to go to the 
ashram of sage Valmiki in order to attain liberation by listening to Yoga Vasishta. (1.1.19) 

Book II: The Aspirant Who Longs for Liberation 


Shuka as a child obtains the highest truth, but is uncertain of it. His father, sage Vyasa, sends him to 
the royal sage King Janaka for instruction. Shuka becomes sage Shukadeva. (II. 1.6-45) 

Brahma Teaches Vasishta 

Brahma reveals the nature of creation to his mind-born son, Vasishta. (11.10.10-44) 

Book HI: On Creation 

Lee la and Saras wati (Padma's body on the shrine) — Queen Leela and King Padma lead an idyllic 
life, but as they age Leela fears he might die first, in which case her own life would be intolerable. 
She does tapas to Goddess Saraswati and obtains the boon to have her husband's spirit always with 
her. She and the goddess astral travel and time travel to see the couple's prior life as simple brahmins 
when her husband sees a lavish royal hunting party, creating a desire in him to possess the wealth of 
an empire. That desire manifests after King Padma dies and the queen and goddess see another reality 
in the deceased king's mind. He is now King Viduratha ruling a vast empire with a second Leela as 
his wife (HI. 15-30) — The Great War : Leela and Saraswati witness the great war between King 
Viduratha and his enemy King Sindhu. (in.31-39) — Viduratha Awakens : Leela and Saraswati 
awaken Viduratha who remembers his past lives, including as the brahmin who wanted to possess the 
wealth of an empire. (111.40-41) — Viduratha Killed : In the end, Sindhu wins, Viduratha is killed, and 
Sindhu rules. (IH.43-51) — Back to the Shrine: Nirvana : Saraswati instructs both Leelas, they return 
to King Viduranatha's tomb in the shrine, King Viduranatha-Padma is brought back to life in front of 
the two Leelas, and both Padma (Viduratha) and the first Leela attain nirvana. (111.52-59) — There is 
a twist on the ending in Book VI, part 2. ( VIB.156-157 ) 

Karkati — Karkati ("Crab") is a female demon (rakshasi) who performs powerful tapas and obtains 
the boons to become Vishuchika ("Cholera") and Suchi ("Needle") so she can feast on mankind. 
Unsatisfied, she does tapas again to regain her original form and learns from a king and his minister 
how to eat lawful food. (ffl.68-83) 

The Ten Aindavas (Sons of Indu) — Indu and his wife perform tapas and receive the boon of having 
ten sons. After their parents die, all ten complete tapas and attain the boon to become God the 
Creator, the sole God of the Universe, at the same time. (111.86-87) — (See also VIB. 178.26-48 ^ 

The Adulterous Lovers — Libertine Indra and Queen Ahalya, are discovered by King Indra who 
seeks to punish them. Despite torture, the two lovers refuse to abandon each other. Cursed by sage 
Bharata, they die and reincarnate together over many lifetimes until they perform tapas and attain 
liberation. This story illustrates the power of belief. (111.89-90) 

Deluded Men Punish Themselves — Men in a desert, club themselves, fall into pits and jump into 
thorny brambles. They rest in shady groves, then resume the self-punishment. (111.98-99) 

Three Non-Existent Princes — An old nurse makes up a story of three princes who never exist. 

King Lavana. a Magician and a Horse — The magician appears in King Lavana's court and 
manifests a magnificent horse. The king mounts the horse and disappears for a couple of hours. Upon 
his return, the king explains that he had passed a lifetime married to a tribal woman, raising children. 
When his tribal family died in a great famine, he was preparing to immolate himself when he woke 
up, found himself back in his court, and realized the magician had put a spell on him (III. 104- 109) 

BooklV: On Existence 

Shukra Falls in Love with a Nymph — Shukra, the son of sage Bhrigu, had performed tapas but falls 
in love with a fairy nymph. He pursues her to Indra's heaven and ends up getting lost in repeated 
incarnations until he does such severe tapas by the Ganges River that his body perishes. Bhrigu uses 
his yogi powers to look for his missing son, finds the dead body, and complains to Yama, the god of 
death. Yama explains the nature of reality to sage Bhrigu, then awakens Shukra who restores his 
original body and becomes the guru of the demons (Shukra, Venus). (IV.5.7-IV.16) 

Dama. Vyala and Kata — The demons Dama, \fyala and Kata (who become known as Bhima, Bhasa 
and Dridha) are created by the demon-king Sambara in order to defeat the gods in war. Having no 
prior birth, the three lack ego and are invincible. The defeated gods obtain Brahma's counsel to foster 
ego in the three demons, and the demon armies are defeated. The three demons experience 
innumerable reincarnations until they attain liberation as a sparrow, a gnat, and a parrot when they 
overhear a king's minister telling the story of their war with the gods. (IV.25-33) 

Dasura — Dasura does tapas sitting in a kadamba tree. A goddess appears who seeks a son and he 
gives her the boon. Dasura tells the son the story of the air-born King Khottha (mind) and his grand 
city. Vasishta interviews Dasura. (IV.48.8-IV.55) 

The Song of Kacha — Kacha, the son of Brihaspati (Jupiter, the teacher of the gods), sings of the 
Spirit abiding everywhere. (IV.58) 

Book V: On Dissolution, Becoming Quiet 

King Janaka — King Janaka overhears the divine siddhas (spiritual masters) singing praises of 
Brahman (the Self), reflects upon the meaning, and attains Self-realization. (V.8-12) 

Punya and Pavana — Punya and Pavana are brothers whose devout parents pass away. The elder 
Punya is enlightened, but the younger Pavana grieves. Punya teaches and enlightens Pavana about 
reincarnation. (V.19-V.21.3) 

Bali, the Demon King — Bali (or Mahabali), a benevolent king of demons, tires of life. He 
remembers asking his father Virochana about attaining everlasting happiness. Virochana explains that 

the mind is like a royal minister — subduing the mind, one subdues all. Bali gets instruction from 
Shukra, teacher of the demons, that all is consciousness and does a thousand years of tapas. Vishnu 
tricks Bali into giving the world to Indra, then imprisons Bali in a cave. Bali regains his authority and 
rules as an enlightened king. (V.22.7-V.29) 

Prahlada. the Demon King Devotee of Vishnu — Prahlada, lord of demons, is the son of 
Hiranykashipu who was defeated in battle by Narasimha, the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu. Vishnu 
is the lord of gods, the enemies of the demons. Prahlada becomes a devotee of Vishnu, as do his 
demons. Through discrimination Prahlada attains enlightenment and performs tapas for thousands of 
years, throwing the demon world into anarchy for lack of a ruler. Vishnu awakens Prahlada, explains 
living-liberation, and Prahlada resumes his governing duties. (V.30-41) 

Gadhi — Gadhi the brahmin looses consciousness as he performs his ritual bathing. He wakes up as 
a child in the womb of a tribal woman. He lives a lifetime among tribals until he outlives his 
contemporaries, then wanders to a rich city, Kira. There the royal elephant chooses him to be the 
successor king. After eight years of rule, the citizens discover he is a tribal, so brahmins and ministers 
immolate themselves in disgust. Gadhi does the same, and as he throws himself on his own funeral 
pyre, he wakes up and realizes that his entire life as a tribal and a king was a brief daydream But the 
dream seemed so real that Gadhi travels to where he lived as a tribal and where he ruled as king. 
Three times he explores, interviews witnesses, and thinks that it had all really happened. Three times 
he does tapas to Lord Vishnu who tells him it was just in his mind. (V.44-49) 

Uddalaka — Uddalaka practices discrimination, meditates in samadhi, and practices pranayama 
breath control. The story is an occasion to explain some aspects of pranayama. (V.51-55) 

King Suraghu — King Suraghu of the Kiratas (indigenous peoples of the Himalayan foothills) 
receives instruction from sage Mandavya, practices self-inquiry, and attains Self-realization. (V58- 

King Parigha — King Parigha of Persia, disheartened by a severe famine, performs tapas and 
becomes known as Parnada ("Leaf-eater"). He wanders about and meets his old friend, the now Self- 
realized King Suraghu of the Kiratas and they discuss enlightenment. (V.61 to 63) 

Bhasa and Vilasa — The two friends grow up in the ashram of sage Atri, then wander off to perform 
severe austerities but without gaining true knowledge. They meet again as old hermits, converse, and 
finally attain liberation. (V.65-66) 

Vitahavya — Vitahavya abandons his practice of puja and yagna (ritual worship and fire sacrifices) 
and practices self-inquiry He attains samadhi and performs tapas in a cave for such a long time that 
his body becomes inert and is covered in deep mud and clay. The sage devotionally bids farewell to 
the various aspects of his body and attains liberation. (V.82-87) 

Book VI, Part 1: On Liberation 

Bhushnnda — Bhushunda is an ancient, Self-realized crow who has survived countless cycles of 
creation and dissolution. Vasishta visits Bhushunda who tells the story of his birth. He was one of 
twenty brothers born when the crow Chanda mated with seven swans who are the divine vehicles of 
god Brahma. Bhushananda describes numerous creations and dissolutions, many Creators, Shivas and 
Vishnus, and many incarnations of the personality of Vasishta, Rama and other sages and avatars. 

Underlying reality, he explains, is the principle of vital air, and this becomes an occasion to elaborate 
on pranayama. (VIA. 14-27) 

Shiva Instructs Vasishta — Shiva instructs Vasishta on the best way to worship God, which is 
internally as empty consciousness. He explains that consciousness has forgotten itself, and that 
creation really exists as divine consciousness. (VIA.29.85-VIA.42) 

Parable of the Bael Fruit (Wood-apple) as Creation. (VIA.45) 

Parable of a Carved Rock as the Soul. (VTA.46) 

Arjuna and Krishna — This is the Yoga Vasishta version of the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna and Krishna 
are dual incarnations of Vishnu. Vasishta describes how Krishna instructs Arjuna to perform his duty 
with detachment and go into battle, and how Arjuna attains enlightenment. (VIA.52.8-VI.58) 

The Hundred Rudras — The story begins with a mendicant who dreams numerous incarnations until 
a swan dreams it is Rudra (Shiva). This enlightened Rudra restores the mendicant's body and they 
proceed to awaken each of the intervening dreamed incarnations, becoming the one Rudra with one 
hundred forms. (VIA.62-65) 

The Vetala and the Prince — A vetala (ghost, vampire) threatens to kill and eat a prince unless he 
properly answers the vetala's questions. The prince does and the vetala forgets its hunger. (VTA.70- 


King Bhagiratha — This is the story of how the Ganges River was made to flow on earth. King 
Bhagiratha ages and tires of his great life. He seeks counsel of his spiritual guide (the ascetic Tritala), 
becomes a renunciant, and in his wanderings agrees to rule another kingdom which has no heir. He 
thinks of redeeming his ancestors and performs tapas in order to make the heavenly Ganges river flow 
and purify the earth. (VIA. 74- 76) 

King Sikhidhwaja and Queen Chudala — The royal couple lead an idyllic life and both pursue 
spiritual knowledge. Chudala practices self-inquiry and attains Self realization. Sikhidhwaja notices 
she appears unusually radiant, but when she explains Self realization, he dismisses her as a mere 
woman. — Astral Travel : Chudala keeps her wisdom to herself and learns the yogic powers of 
manifesting astral bodies and astral travel. (VTA.77-80). Vasishta explains how such powers are 
possible. Queen Chudala tries to share her knowledge with her husband, but Sikhidhwaja continues to 
simply dismiss her as being only a woman. (VTA. 83) 

The Parable of the Miser Kirata and the Philosopher's Stone . In this interlude within the story of 
Sikhidhwaja and Chudala, Vasishta explains how one can learn something valuable despite seeking 
trifles. The miser is searching for a lost cowry shell when he discovers the Philosopher's Stone. 
(VIA. 83. 16-24) 

King Sikhidhwaja the Hermit; Chudala as the Brahmin Boy Kumbha — Thinking asceticism is the 
way to attain enlightenment, King Sikhidwaja abandons his kingdom to become a hermit. Queen 
Chudala, knowing she has to allow her husband to learn in his own lessons, remains home to govern 
the country in his name, periodically using her powers to astral travel and check on how her husband 
is faring. She assumes the form of a brahmin boy, Kumbha, who becomes the hermit-king's spiritual 
teacher and questions whether the hermit is progressing towards his goal of liberation. (VTA. 84- 87) 

The Rich Man Who Failed to Grasp the Real Philosopher's Stone — Kumbha (Chudala) tells her 
hermit-king husband a parable about a rich man who obtains the Philosopher's Stone (chintamani). 
(VIA.88, 90) 

A Foolish Elephant Twice Captured — This is also told by Kumbha (Chudala) to teach the hermit- 
king. (VIA.89, 91) 

Sikhidhwaja & Chudala (Kumba) Continued — The king burns all his hermit possessions in an 
attempt at complete renunciation, and Kumbha (Chudala) explains the real meaning of renunciation 
and reality, and that God and creation are the same consciousness — The King Attains Samadhi : the 
king attains enlightenment and gives up his need to live as an ascetic. (VIA.92-103) — A Married 
Couple Again : Sikhidhwaja and Kumba (Chudala) wander the world together and the queen desires to 
make love with her husband. The queen, as the boy Kumbha, tells the king that a curse by sage 
Durvasa makes him become female each night. It is in this form that they are married. (VIA. 104- 106) 
— Chudala Tests Sikhidhwaja by making a false Indra appear as if making love to her, he passes the 
test, Chudala reveals her true form to her husband, and they are reunited. (VTA. 108-1 10) 

Kacha — Kacha, son of sage Brihaspati, seeks lasting peace of mind. His father teaches him to 
understand that there is no such thing as ego (personal existence). Kacha does tapas to attain 
liberation. (VIA. Ill) 

Aerial Man Building Aerial Homes — A parable describing creation. (VLA.112.15-VTA.113) 

Shiva Explains the True Virtues of good action, enjoyment of life, and indifference to the king of the 
Bhringis. (VIA. 11 5) 

Sage Manu Teaches King Ikshaku that creation is an appearance. (VTA. 1 17- 122) 

The Story of the Hunter and the Sage — A hunter chases a wounded stag and comes across a sage 
incapable of knowing where the stag had gone. (VIA. 124.28-34) 

Book VI, Part 2: The Latter Treasury 

Bhush inula — Bhushunda, the long-lived crow, instructs a vidyadhara demigod who has tired of the 
world. Bhushunda describes the tree and temple of illusion, and the nature of Brahman. (VIB. 5. 4- 
VIB.12) Bhushunda instructs the vidyadhara that the sense of ego is the source of error and the 
vidyadhara attains liberation. (VIB.15) 

Indra's Rule of an Atomic World — This story is told by Bhushunda to the vidyadhara. Indra, king 
of the gods, became weak by studying spirituality, and is defeated in war by the demon asuras. Indra 
hides by making himself minute inside a lotus flower, when he imagines a palace and a universe. 
Countless successor Indras rule that universe. (VTB.13.5-VIB.14) 

Manki — The brahmin Manki, on pilgrimage and crossing a wasteland, encounters Vasishta. Manki 
complains about life, receives Vasishta' s instruction, and attains liberation. (VIB. 23-26) 

Vasishta's Stories: Vasishta's Search for Seclusion : A Vidyadhari's Song : Her World inside a 
Block of Stone : and Her Husband. Creator God Brahma — Vasishta seeks a secluded place in the 
universe where he does a hundred-year tapas. (VIB. 56) Awakening, he hears the sound of a woman 
singing and explores creation, a network of alternate realities. (VIB. 59-60) The song is from a 
beautiful vidyadhari who grieves because her ascetic, brahmin husband is uninterested in her. She 

describes their world inside a block of stone. (VIB. 64-66) Vasishta and the vidyadhari awaken the 
husband, a brahmin who is the creator god Brahma, who explains that she is an aspect of his own 
creation and that creation is about to dissolve. (VIB. 69-70) — A Siddha Master Visits Vasishta's 
Aerial Home . Vasishta has experienced cosmic dissolution and returns to the aerial site of his 100- 
year tapas. He finds a siddha master has taken up residence there. (VIB. 93-94) 

King Vipaschit — The besieged king, a devotee of the fire-god Agni, enters sacred fire and emerges 
in four forms in order to wage war successfully. (VIB. 108- 113) — Travel the Four Corners of the 
World : The four kings, each with his courts and armies travel the four corners of the world, walking 
across the oceans and praising creation. (VIB. 114- 123) — Lost in Repeated Reincarnations : His four 
persons get lost in repeated reincarnations; some attain enlightenment and help the others. (VIB. 124- 
126) King Vipaschit, in the form of a deer, is produced by Vasishta before Rama and Dasharata's 
court. The Deer Enters a Sacred Fire and emerges as the liberated Bhasa. Bhasa describes his many 
incarnations. (VIB. 129-133) 

The Story of the Cosmic Carcass — Bhasa (Vipaschit) relates the story of the wonderful carcass to 
Vasishta, Rama, and Dasharata's court. He saw a huge carcass fall on the world causing a cosmic 
dissolution. What is left was used to recreate the world. (VIB. 133- 135) — Agni Explains the 
Carcass : Bhasa describes how he had asked the fire god Agni the meaning of the carcass, and Agni 
related the story of the asura demon cursed to become a gnat, then becomes a deer and a hunter. The 
hunter comes across an unnamed sage who tells him his own experience entering into the dream 
consciousness of his student, where the sage gets lost and experiences cosmic dissolution. (VIB. 136- 
141) — The Unnamed Sage Finally Awakens and realizes he imagined everything. Another sage 
visits him and explains that all is Brahman. The first, unnamed sage explains to the hunter that the 
guest sage was also himself. (IVB.147-150) — Prophesy that the Hunter Will Ask Questions : The 
guest sage tells the unnamed sage that he will instruct a hunter who will ask questions about dreaming 
and sit in tapas. (IVB.153.1-5) — The Boon to Become Huge : Agni, who is telling this story of the 
hunter to Bhasa (Vipaschit), who is repeating it to Vasishta and Rama, describes how the unnamed 
sage told the hunter that he will complete tapas, earn the boon to become huge, tire of his body, and 
the carcass falls on the earth, destroys creation, and becomes a new creation. (VIB. 155) — The 
Hunter Becomes King Sindhu who defeats King Viduratha in battle, then retires and attains liberation. 
(VIB. 157-158) (See the story of Leela, Saraswati and Vidhurath in Book EL) — Vipaschit Does 
Tapas : Agni's explanation of the carcass to Vipaschit completed, Bhasa relates how, in his 
incarnation as one of the four King Vipaschits, he completes tapas. Indra appears and says he is fated 
to go through more incarnations before liberation, ending up as a deer in the court of Dasharata. 
(VIB. 159.3-26) 

Story of the Unnamable Crystal Rock — Vasishta's description of creation. (VIB. 166) 

Kundadanta and the Upside-Down Ascetic — This is a story related by Rama. Some time before 
the assembly that is Yoga Vasishta, the wandering Kundadanta appeared before another assembly that 
included Rama and Vasishta. Kundadanta tells his story of finding an ascetic hanging from a tree. 
They travel together and find another ascetic, a hermit living in a desert by a kadamba tree, in what 
used to be goddess Gaud's forested ashram, stripped bare by woodcutters. The kadamba tree hermit 
describes his tapas with his seven brothers which resulted in the blessings of all eight acquiring 
dominion over creation. Meanwhile, their parents went on pilgrimage and sought wives for the eight 

sons. They inadvertently gave offense to sage Durvasa who cursed their sons' tapas to end in failure. 
(VTB.180-183) — Personified Blessings and Curse : Kundadanta relates how the personified 
blessings and curse argue before god Brahma who explains how both blessings and curse come to 
pass. (VIB.183) His story of the kadamba tree ascetic completed, Kundadanta listened to Vasishta's 
teaching and attained liberation. 

King Prajnapti — The king asks Vasishta how immaterial can create material; Vasishta's discourse 
to KingPrajnapati. (IV.206-210) 

Rama's Prior Life Learning under Vasishta . Rama asks Vasishta to illustrate how the supreme 
Brahma comes to think of ego. Vasishta replies that Rama had asked this same question of him in a 
prior incarnation. (IVB.212.19-IVB.213) 


Shivabalayogi & Yoga Vasishta 

Shivabalayogi and English Translations of Yoga Vasishta 

The Underlying Story: the Enlightenment of Rama 

The Timeless and Historical Yoga Vasishta 

The Organization of Yoga Vasishta 

Similes & Metaphors 

The Essence of Yoga Vasishta 

Stories in the Yoga Vasishta 

Nirvana & the Living Liberated 

The Requirement of Personal Effort 

Surplus. Irrelevant & Unimportant Sections 

Humor in Yoga Vasishta 

Narrow and Universal Feelings 

Words & Terminology 

Endless Possibilities 

From the Preface to the 1891 Edition 

Yoga Vasishta is an extraordinarily long book that is considered among the most valuable spiritual 
treatises and the most comprehensive exposition of non-dualistic (advaita) philosophy or Vedanta. 

Shri Shri Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj is a yogi, one who has successfully completed tapas, 
meditation in samadhi for twelve years, to attain God or Self realization. Shivabalayogi regarded God 
and Self to be the same. According to Shivabalayogi, Yoga Vasishta is the only book that accurately 
preserves a yogi's teachings. Other scriptures, he would say, have been altered over time. 

Ramana Maharshi, another great yogi of the 20th Century, often cited Yoga Vasishta . Ramana 
encouraged the practice of self inquiry and one who reads Yoga Vasishta will find it to be the 
quintessential treatise on the practice. 

Yoga Vasishta is the book that Shivabalayogi recommended for people to learn more about his own 
spiritual philosophy, yogis and avatars generally, and the nature of creation. Everything one would 
want to know, he said, is in Yoga Vasishta. 

Listening to Shivabalayogi talk about Yoga Vasishta , many devotees came to the conclusion that he 
was Vasishta. All Shivabalayogi admitted was being there when Vasishta taught Rama. 

Yoga Vasishta is the record of how young Rama, the avatar of God Vishnu, attained Self realization 
through the teaching of the sage Vasishta. Over the course of twenty- two days, Rama asked questions 
and Vasishta answered, lectured, and told stories. All this took place before the assembled court of 
Rama's father, King Dasharata, and numerous sages, gods, nobles and brahmin priests. 

The book is attributed to sage Valmiki, the same person who wrote the epic history of Rama, the 
Ramayana, which events take place after those in Yoga Vasishta. 

The essence of the philosophy in Yoga Vasishta is that creation is not a separate existence from God 
but a reflection of God. God is consciousness and there is nothing material anywhere. Each individual 
is consciousness, ultimately the same indivisible Divine Consciousness, and not any physical body. 

The only complete English translation of the Yoga Vasishta Maharamayana is by Vihari Lala Mitra, 
published in 1891. It is a monumental work in two volumes, long since out of print. Copies are 
difficult to find. A portion of Mitra's Preface to the 1891 edition is included here and it reveals the 
high level of Mitra's scholarship. 

Shivabalayogi & Yoga Vasishta 

Shivabalayogi often described himself as a practical yogi. Instead of intellectualizing spirituality, he 
encouraged people to practice meditation. Instead of giving discourses, he gave actual experiences. 
However, he placed a great value on Yoga Vasishta and over four decades, he often recommended 
the book to devotees. 

As early as around 1958 or 1959, before he finished his twelve-year tapas, Shivabalayogi 
recommended the book to two devotees, Rumale Chennebasaiah and M. G. Kabbe, who would 
meditate in Swamiji's presence in the evening and mornings. Kabbe explained how they spent the 
days in nearby Draksharama, resting, taking food and reading Yoga Vasishta. 

Gen. Hanut Singh met Shivabalayogi in Dehradun and was quickly drawn into the regular practice of 
meditation. He had questions about his experiences and the spiritual path and talked with Swamiji 
about them Swamiji's answers became material for the biography that Gen. Hanut assembled, 
Spiritual Ministration, first published in 1981. In that book, Gen. Hanut quotes Swamiji, "Read the 
Yoga Vasishta. Swamiji's philosophy is fully expounded in that scripture." 

General Hanut's biography of Shivabalayogi includes a chapter on "Mission and Upadesa" (upadesa 
means spiritual guidance), which contains a short synopsis of Yoga Vasishta, ending with the 
encouragement: "Those who wish to know more about the profound teachings embodied in this 
Scripture, particularly with a view to gaining a better understanding of Sri Swamiji's Teachings, 
would do well to make a more detailed study of the 'Yoga Vasishta.' " 

In the United States almost two decades later, Shivabalayogi told devotees about his consecration of 
the Brahma- Vishnu-Maheshwara temple in Bangalore and how his consecration of the idol to God 
Brahma, the Creator, removed a curse by Shiva. When asked about Brahma, he said, "You should 
read the history of Brahma." He was asked whether there was any particular book that he 
recommended. "Yes, the Yoga Vasishta." 

Shivabalayogi would warn of the dangers of nuclear war and how one of the reasons he completed 
tapas was to use the powers to prevent such a war from breaking out. "This is not the first time people 
have made atomic bombs. This happened many thousands of years ago and many millions of years 
ago. If you study history you will come to understand. If you read the Yoga Vasishta you will come to 
know about that." 

On another occasion, Shivabalayogi was asked about avatars. "Read the Yoga Vasishta ," he said, 
"and you will learn how yogis make avatars and how Rama acquired his powers from yogis." 
Shivabalayogi revealed that he had incarnated during each major avatar of God Vishnu, which occurs 
every five thousand years. The last such avatar was Krishna, and the one before that was Rama. 
Shivabalayogi added that he was a witness to the events described in Yoga Vasishta when sage 
Vasishta gave spiritual instruction to the young Rama. 

Shivabalayogi discouraged intellectualizing about spirituality, so for him to recommend any spiritual 
book really stands out. He said that Yoga Vasishta , unlike other scriptures, preserves the original 
teachings of a yogi. He mentioned it often enough that many began to think that Shivabalayogi was 

Shivabalayogi and English Translations of Yoga Vasishta 

Encouraged by Shivabalayogi 's praise for the book, devotees in the United States tried to find copies. 

The only complete English translation of the Sanskrit work was a two- volume set by Vihari Lala 
Mitra printed in 1891, long out of print and existing copies scarce. A new abridged translation by 
Swami Venkatesananda, The Concise Yoga Vasishta , had recently been published in 1984. We asked 
Swamiji about it and he complained that it was not as good as the original because in shortening and 
adapting the original, Venkatesananda had made too many alterations. We read the abridgment 
anyway, and even in that form the book was mind- altering. 

Venkatesananda wrote more expanded abridgments, Vasishta's Yoga published in 1993, and The 
Supreme Yoga , 2007. Like the earlier The Concise Yoga Vasishta , these works are extremely well 
written, intelligent and inspiring. His modern English is excellent. Swami Venkatesananda and Swami 
Jyotirmayananda, who produced the abridged Yoga Vasishta are direct disciples of Swami Sivananda 
of Rishikesh. Swami Jyotirmayananda gives weekly podcasts on Yoga Vasishta and he has written a 
six- volume summary of its essence. 

How Shivabalayogi knew anything about Venkatesananda's The Concise Yoga Vasishta is anyone's 
guess. It's not like he read it. But comparing Venkatesananda's more complete Vasishta's Yoga with 
Mitra's 1891 translation, chapter by chapter, it becomes obvious how much has been omitted. The 
Concise abridgment is roughly about a quarter of the Mitra translation. 

Mitra knew Sanskrit and read the commentaries. He was also an excellent scholar in Western 
spiritual poetry and literature. Those who do not read Sanskrit can only give second hand evaluations, 
but his translation may reflect the poetical qualities in which the Sanskrit of the Yoga Vasishta was 
written. Indian scriptures were first meant to be heard and only in later ages to be read. Obviously a 
lot of meaning since the ancient times of the Treta Yuga has been lost. 

Some criticize Mitra for taking liberties and augmenting the text. Currently there is a collaborative, 
volunteer project to prepare a completely new English translation of the original Sanskrit (Google 
Group Yoga Vasishta). They recognize that Mitra's 1891 translation "is not a satisfactory translation. 
The English is very poor. It often uses the word 'God' to translate 'Paramatma', etc. But worst of all, 
it constantly paraphrases and amplifies the text it ought to be translating. But it is all we have for a 
complete translation." 

Archaic English in the Mitra translation apparently motivated Ravi Prakash Arya to prepare an edit. 
The result is Yoga Vasishta of Valmiki published in India four volumes in 1999. Arya notes that 
Mitra's Bengali background affected his Sanskrit spelling, he used archaic English, and some of his 
rendering was simply misleading. For example, Arya writes, Mitra misleadingly translates samadhi 
as hypnosis or trance. 

There are other English translations, abridgments and commentaries available in India. Vidvan Bulusu 
Venkateswarulu translated the complete six books of Yoga Vasishta, but not the supplemental second 
part of the sixth book on Nirvana. His complete translation was published over twenty years ago in 
Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, but is also out of print. 

Shivabalayogi said that that he would have a new English translation prepared by a devotee in India 
working with the edition Swamiji himself had read, twice. This edition contains parallel Sanskrit and 

Telugu text. The Telugu translation was done by Swami Purnananda and Swami 
Vidyaprakasanandagiri of Vyasa Ashram, Erpedu, Chittoor District, in Andhra Pradesh, India. The 
devotee was Prof. P. N. Murthy, an engineering professor educated in Telugu and English who knew 

In a draft introduction to the Book on Nirvana, Prof. Murthy wrote how Shivabalayogi encouraged 
him to prepare a new translation. "The magnitude of the task was staggering," Murthy wrote, then 
added, "There is another angle to it. Devotees all believe that Swamiji was Vasishta and what is 
preserved in the Yoga Vasishta is what he said thousands of years ago. We hope that through this 
translation, he is again speaking to the world." 

Prof. Murthy's English translation of the Book of Nirvana was published in India in two volumes. The 
translation suggests that the Sanskrit verses are terse with little in the way of flow connecting or 
developing concepts. Perhaps this is driven by the slokas (couplets) in which the Sanskrit text is 
composed. This staccato flow of the text is also apparent in Mitra, but somewhat less because he 
added and amplified. Or it maybe that Prof. Murthy's translation condenses too many verses. He also 
omits some of the detailed descriptions, so in some ways, it is incomplete. On the other hand, he 
included one reference to vidyadhara (demigod) love making which the Victorian prude Mitra 

This edition takes Mitra's 1891 translation and updates the English. Jay Mazo spent a year revising 
the text to delete the archaic second person ("thee" and "thou") that Mitra had used. Jay has made a 
study of Yoga Vasishta and its various English translations, going verse by verse comparing them. I 
am grateful to Jay for much of the information about English translations in this web page. 

To my taste, Jay had not gone far enough. Mitra's English, even his punctuation, is frustratingly 
opaque and obscures the subject matter. I found myself editing the text just to be able to understand 
what Mitra was writing. It was the only way I could read the translation. This quickly evolved into 
the idea that I would print my own copy of the complete Yoga Vasishta. With today's book publishing 
technology, it's easy and relatively inexpensive to print a single copy of a book. In a little over a year, 
I went through two rounds of edits. 

The Underlying Story: the Enlightenment of Rama 

Valmiki's book, Yoga Vasishta is about Rama awakening to God realization through the lectures of 
sage Vasishta. Rama asks questions and Vasishta gives answers over a twenty-two day period. 

This is the same Rama who was an incarnation of the god Vishnu and who is worshipped as God by 
many in India even today. The subject of the book is a lesson by itself. Even gods forget their identity 
when they incarnate and require a God-realized master to wake them up. 

It is a very long book, about 32,000 slokas or verses of two lines each. V L. Mitra's English 
translation is about a million words. By comparison, the King James Bible is about three-quarters of 
a million. Valmiki describes twenty-two occasions when the assembly broke for the evening. The last 
day was one of confirmation and celebration, so Vasishta's discourses, sermons and stories extended 
over twenty- two days. At a comfortable spoken pace of 120 words a minute, that works out to about 
five to six hours of constant dialogue each day. 

Most of us would be ecstatic to attain God realization in only twenty-two days. 

The book itself states that simply reading it can evoke enlightenment. "Whoever hears and attends to 
these discourses of Rama and Vasishta is sure to be relieved in every state of life and be united with 
[God] after his release." ( VIA. 128. 109 ) (Citations are to Book, Chapter, and verse.) 

"Reading this Vasishta Maharamayana is sure to produce the knowledge of self-liberation in its 
reader, even during his lifetime in this world." ( VIB.95.25 ) 

"There was never a better scriptures than this, nor is any like this now in existence or likely to be in 
fashion in the future. . . . This is the best among the principal works of the scriptures. It is easily 
intelligible and delightful. There is nothing new here, only what is well known in spiritual 
philosophy. Let a man read the many stories contained in this book with delight. He undoubtedly will 
find this book the best of its kind." r VIB. 103 .25. 42-43 ^ 

Yet among Vasishta's or Valmiki's praise for the book, it also recognizes that it may not be to 
everyone's taste. "Should this scripture prove distasteful, owing to it being the composition of a holy 
sage, then the student may consult the sacred scriptures to perfect his spiritual knowledge." 
r VIB. 175.76 ) 

The Timeless and Historical Yoga Vasishta 

Some say Rama lived about ten thousand years ago. Traditionally, he is thought to have lived during 
the Treta Yuga, the Age of Silver, which lasts over a million years. 

We are now in the Kali Yuga, the dark Age of Iron, which lasts almost a half a million years. In 
between Treta Yuga and Kali Yuga was the Dvapara Yoga, the Age of Bronze, which lasted over 
three-quarters of a million years. 

Sage Vasishta is an ancient yogi who was born from the mind of Brahma, God the Creator. Sage 
Valmiki, to whom the writing of the Yoga Vasishta is attributed, is also a yogi of ancient times. So the 
Yoga Vasishta has its roots in ancient times. 

The subject of the book may be exceedingly ancient, but the book itself is set in medieval India. 
Vasishta is the name of a family or class of brahmin priests who served royally in India for centuries. 
Valmiki is the name under which another great work was written, the Ramayana, the 24,000 sloka 
epic of the life of Rama. The Yoga Vasishta is generally believed to have been written down in India 
some time between the 11th and 14th Centuries AD, only seven or ten centuries ago. The Ramayana 
dates back to the last centuries before Christ. Yoga Vasishta refers to various schools of Indian 
philosophy, Buddhism and Christianity (resurrection at the Second Coming), which establish its age 
in conventional history. 

The written Yoga Vasishta and Ramayana are much more recent than the traditional dates for the 
events they describe, so there is no need to believe that the original Vasishta or Valmiki actually 
wrote the versions we have now. Yoga Vasishta itself teaches that time and space do not really exist 
and even sage Vasishta and sage Valmiki, the original ones, have incarnated as themselves many 
times over. 

Among many other qualities, Yoga Vasishta is a book written by priests in the service of royalty 
designed to teach princes how to live and rule. It abounds in stories of enlightened rulers, the wars 
they waged, and the lands they ruled. It constantly praises the brahmin caste and encourages the royal 
caste to donate generously to all brahmins. 

Despite its dated style and context, and sometimes questionable or inapplicable social values, the 
book remains exceedingly timeless. 

The Organization of Yoga Vasishta 

Yoga Vasishta is stories within stories within stories. The entire book is a story (Valmiki telling his 
student, Bharadwaja, what Vasishta told Rama) within a story (Valmiki repeating the story to King 
Arishtanemi), within a story (the divine messenger telling the story to a celestial nymph named 
Suruchi), within a story (sage Agnivesya telling the story to his son, Karunya), within yet another 
story (sage Agastya telling the story to his student, Sutikshna). It begins in this context with the fourth 
verse and ends in this context almost a million words later. 

Yoga Vasishta is divided into seven Books. It would seem to end with Book VI part 1 where Rama 
attains enlightenment and that Book concludes with, "Thus ends the Maharamayana of sage Vasishta 
and spoken by Valmiki relating to the boyhood of Rama and consisting of thirty- two thousand slokas." 
( VIA. 128. 110 ) 

Actually, Book VI part 2 is required to bring the verse count to about 32,000. 

Then Book VI part 2 begins as if the end of part 1 never happened. This seventh Book concludes with 
another celebration of Rama's enlightenment. "Here ends the Maharamayana of sage Vasishta with its 
continuation by his recorder Valmiki and the speech of the celestial messenger at the latter end of the 
Book on Nirvana, the ultimate extinction of the living soul." ( VIB.2 16.27 ) 

The two parts of Book VI suggest that the entire book's organization is anything but obvious. 

Book I is about Rama's dissatisfaction with everything the world has to offer. Only fifteen years old 
( 1.5.1 ). Shivabalayogi said he was only eight), he is unusually mature for his age. This Book is 
entitled vairagya, detachment. Constantly throughout all of its seven Books, Yoga Vasishta 
emphasizes that detachment or lack of desire is the essential preliminary to spiritual awakening. 

The setting of Book I is the same as all the other six Books. We are in the court of King Dasharata, the 
father of Rama. Not only are the nobles and brahmins of the kingdom gathered, but also sages, 
spiritual masters, gods and demigods from this mundane world and the many spiritual worlds. This is 
an example of another constant emphasis throughout the book: the need for the aspirant to keep 
company with the wise, and to listen and reflect upon their teaching and the meaning of the scriptures. 

Book II is about the qualities of the aspirant who longs for liberation, enlightenment. It introduces 
themes that permeate the rest of the book: dispassion, control over one's desires, company of the 
wise, study of the scriptures, and self-inquiry. 

The titles of the remaining five Books provide the reader with little guidance. Book III is entitled 
creation, Book IV is on existence, Book V is about dissolution or abiding in stillness, and Book VI is 
on nirvana or liberation, its part 2 labeled the "latter treasury." But the contents of all but the first 
Book are permeated with the need for dispassion and abandonment of desires, creation and its 
existence and dissolution, and the nature of nirvana or Self realization. All these subjects are 
intermingled repeatedly throughout the book. 

Similes & Metaphors 

The similes and metaphors in Yoga Vasishta are repetitive and seemingly endless, often obscuring the 
simple thought being expressed. "What I will say, by opposite similes, right reasoning, graceful style, 
and good sense of the words in which they shall be conveyed to you, cannot fail to come to your 
heart." ( m.84.47 ) 

We might mistake a rope for a snake until we examine more closely and realize our mistake. We 
mistake a desert mirage for water. Through a thin cloud layer we see a second moon. The appearance 
of phenomena is like waves on the ocean or jewelry made out of gold. There is no difference in the 
substance (water and gold), only the appearance. Seeing a snake in a rope, water in a mirage, horns 
on a rabbit, castles in the sky, a barren woman's son, and a double moon are repeated endlessly. A 
metaphor frequently cited in Venkatesananda's English abridgments is a crow landing on a coconut 
tree and a coconut simultaneously falling. The meaning is that we mistakenly assume there is a cause- 
and-effect relationship. Although a frequent metaphor in Advaita writing, it appears only twice in 
Mitra's translation. 

It seems that Vasishta is incapable of making a statement without a simile. "Whatever . . . 
compositions are adorned with measured sentences and graceful diction, all these are rendered 
acutely insightful through conspicuous comparisons, as the world is enlightened by cooling 
moonbeams. Therefore almost every verse in this work is embellished with a suitable comparison." 
( m.84.47 ) 

Ornate, baroque language may have been the fashion in medieval India, but it makes for a tough read 
for a modern reader. One wishes a modern day sage would re-write the book, using similes and 
metaphors more sparingly. Perhaps the modern sage could employ more modern comparisons, like 
movie projectors and screens, television programs, and computer clouds. 

Like creation itself, Yoga Vasishta seems repetitive, sometimes irrelevant, and seemingly endless. 
But the only way to describe God is through simile and metaphor. There is no word or concept that 
can describe consciousness, God. "The soul being inexpressible in words proves to be described 
only in negative terms." ( V.34.101 ) "No conception of God can be true." ( VLA.49.24 ) 

We are so habituated to believing our senses and desiring the things of this world that repetition and 
effort are necessary to become established in the truth. "The repetition of a lesson serves to impress it 
more deeply in the memory of inattentive persons." ( VTB. 198.1 ) "But because the human mind is like 
a child, it must not be forced. The training of a child is like that of the mind. It is done slowly by 
gentleness and indulgence, and not by force or hurry." ( H.9. 32-33 ) 

As one reads what seems repetitive or irrelevant, the ideas and images become more deeply 
impressed in the mind. We realize it's true because it is a part of who we are. As one reads, one 
argues with the book. As one re-reads, ideas occur. Realization happens. 

So the length or complexity of the book ought not deter any of us. It's part of the process. The rewards 
are there. 

The Essence of Yoga Vasishta 

Everything we can think in our minds or perceive with any of our organs of sense is an expression of 
the consciousness of God. God created nothing tangible or material. All that seems to exist is only an 
appearance of God, like waves on the ocean. 

There are at least three ways to know this truth: logic, ordinary experience, and God realization. 


Logic involves the implausibility of any other explanation. Reason and inquiry must conclude that all 
is God. If God is all powerful, all knowing, and all present, how can anything exist that is not God? 

The process of self-inquiry or discrimination is the path of jnana yoga. In modern times, the best 
known exponent of self-inquiry is Ramana Maharshi. Shivabalayogi taught meditation and Ramana 
taught self-inquiry. They are the same thing. As Shivabalayogi explained, "Each teaches what his guru 
taught him Ramana Maharshi taught self-inquiry, which is the same thing that Swamiji is teaching." 

We think we are our bodies, but if we search our own consciousness, we realize that it is not located 
in the body or even confined to it. Consciousness is not material and it is implausible to think that 
God is material. God is spirit. 

Like can only create like. "The essence of consciousness is not material so it cannot be the cause of a 
material thing." ( VTB.55.2 ) It is impossible for spirit to create material. Therefore material creation is 
an illusion. It exists only in consciousness. 


The ordinary experience which confirms this truth is dreaming. "The example of the dream is the best 
illustration of creation. You can judge creation well by the nature of the dreams you have every 
night." ( VIB. 168.20 ) 

"Know, O son of Raghu's race, that this world is a display of the vast kingdom of your imagination. It 
will vanish into nothing when you come to good understanding by the grace of your God. Then you 
will see the whole as clearly as the light of the rising sun, and you will know this would is like a 
creation of your dream" ( VIA.28. 29-31 ) 

"To the clear mind this world appears like an fleeting dream . . .." ( VIA.67.13-14 ) 

While we dream, the dream appears real. But when we wake up, we know the dream was an illusion, 
a fanciful creation of the mind and its consciousness. The only difference between sleep-dreams and 
awake-dreams is duration and consistency, which relate to the level of consciousness that is doing the 
dreaming. When we die, we wake up from our life-dream and, at least for a moment, realize it was all 
a dream But then our minds start thinking and we create another life-dream for ourselves. 

Direct Experience 

Those who have attained Self realization experience the truth that all is a reflection of God. They are 
the spiritual masters beyond all desires and the ordinary limitations of the mind. Their personal 
experience, indescribable in words, is that only Divine Consciousness and Bliss exists. "After 
egoism and mental powers are extinguished and all feelings in oneself subside, a transcendent ecstasy 
arises in the soul called divine or perfect joy and bliss. This bliss is attainable only by yoga 

meditation and in some ways can be compared to sound sleep. But it cannot be described with words, 
O Rama. It must be perceived in the heart." f V.64.51-52 ^ 

The personal experience of yogis confirms that creation is only consciousness, like a dream. "Rama, I 
have told you all this from my own personal perception and not by any guesswork. Through their 
purely intelligent bodies, yogis like ourselves have come to the clear sight of these things in nature 
which are otherwise unknowable to the material body or mind. Thus the world of which I have 
spoken appears to us as in a dream, and not in any other aspect as it is viewed by others." 
( VIB.128.1-2 ) 

"There is truly only consciousness in reality. All other existence is truly consciousness and full of 
consciousness. The mind is consciousness, and I, you, and these people are collectively the same 
consciousness." f V.26. 1 1-12 ) 

Most of Yoga Vasishta consists of stories and stories within stories, and these stories illustrate the 
power of consciousness to travel, experience and create everywhere and everything. "By the 
application of a bit of their intelligence, yogis convert the world to empty air or fill the hollow air 
with the three worlds." (VIR37/73) 

"Rama, know that this world is like a dream that is common to all living beings." (VLA52J.) 

Stories in Yoga Vasishta 

Vasishta spends considerable time answering Rama's questions and lecturing on various spiritual 
subjects, but most of Yoga Vasishta is stories that illustrate the nature of reality. These stories, like 
the similes and metaphors, serve to impress understanding upon the mind. 

The first long story is in Book III and is about Queen Leela and King Padma. ( III. 15-58 . with a twist 
on the ending in VIB.156-157 ) They lead an idyllic life, but as they age Leela fears he might die first, 
in which case her own life would be intolerable. So she does tapas to Goddess Saraswati and obtains 
the boon to have her husband's spirit always with her. She and the goddess astral travel and time 
travel to see the couple's prior life as simple brahmins, and the origin of her husband's desire to 
possess the wealth of an empire. That desire manifests after King Padma dies and the queen and 
goddess see another reality in the deceased king's mind. He is now King Viduratha ruling a vast 
empire with a second Leela as his wife, then battling his enemy King Sindhu. In the end, King Sindhu 
wins, King Viduratha is killed, King Padma is brought back to life in front of the two Leelas, and both 
Padma and the first Leela attain nirvana. 

The story of Gadhi ( V.44-49 ) is much shorter and involves one of those moments in which a person 
experiences another lifetime. Gadhi the brahmin looses consciousness and wakes up as a child in the 
womb of a tribal woman. He lives a lifetime among tribals until he outlives his contemporaries, then 
wanders to a rich city, Kira. The king of that city had recently died, so the citizens decided to let the 
royal elephant chose the successor. The elephant chose Katanja (Gadhi) and he became king. After 
eight years of rule, the citizens discovered the king was a tribal, so brahmins and ministers began 
immolating themselves in disgust. The tribal who became king does the same, and as he throws 
himself on his own funeral pyre, Gadhi the brahmin wakes up only to realize that his entire life as a 
tribal was a brief daydream 

But the dream seemed so real that Gadhi goes to where he lived as a tribal, then where he ruled as 
king. He explores and interviews and realizes that it had all really happened. He does tapas to Lord 
Vishnu who tells him it was just in his mind. Gadhi ends up travelling there three times. Each time his 
daydream is confirmed, and after each time he does tapas and Vishnu tells him it was only in his 

In Book VI part 2, Vasishta tells a story of a sage entering the consciousness of a student in order to 
explore the nature of dreams. The story includes narrations by the sage, Agni (the god of fire), 
Vasishta himself, two unnamed sages (one the dream of the other), and a hunter who becomes the 
cosmos, is destroyed as the end of the world, then reincarnates as a character in the Queen Leela 
story. It is within this story that Vasishta weaves his own personal experiences the most obviously. 

There is the story of the ten Aindava bothers. All ten become God the Creator, the sole God of the 
Universe, at the same time. 

Then there is King Vipaschit who makes himself into four, wages war successfully, then his four 
persons get lost in repeated reincarnations. One of those four persons ends up as a deer who Vasishta 
restores to a human form before the amazed Rama and the assembled court. That former deer tells the 
court about his own experiences as King Vipaschit and all the many other incarnations of his four 

In another part of the book, sage Bhushunda, a crow who is the only point of consciousness that has 
survived countless cycles of creation and dissolution, explains how there have been many Creators, 
many Shivas and Vishnus, and many incarnations of the personality of Vasishta, Rama and all the 
other sages and avatars. This has all happened before, many times. 

There are many, many such stories. 

Nirvana & the Living Liberated 

Mitra's translation frequently refers to nirvana, extinction and liberation. Today, the words 
enlightenment or God realization are more commonly used, but perhaps the best term in today's 
spiritual vocabulary is Self realization because ultimately, God is Self. 

Repeatedly sage Vasishta insists that such words are interchangeable. They only get in the way. 
"Mind, understanding, egoism, intellect, consciousness, action and imagination, together with 
memory, desire, ignorance, and effort are all synonyms of the mind. Sensation, nature, delusion and 
actions are also words applied to the mind to bewilder one's understanding. The simultaneous 
collision of many sensations diverts the mind from its clear sight of the object of its thought, and 
causes it to turn about in many ways." ( IH96.13-15 ) 

Reality is constantly described as a void. God is an emptiness. Reincarnation is described as 
something terrible, as is the ignorance of believing in the material world. The highest good is to 
extinguish one's own mind, to be utterly indifferent to everything. This is nirvana and the reader 
necessarily wonders, "What's the point of nothing?" 

It takes considerable effort to assimilate what Vasishta is trying to explain in words because nirvana 
is inexplicable. It's not being catatonic. "I think no liberation is obtainable from stone-like, apathetic 
trance any more than one gains liberation from deep sleep. Only through consummate knowledge can 
reasoning men dispel their ignorance. . . . [Liberation] is not the stone-like inertness of some 
philosophers or the trance or sound sleep of others. ... It is the knowledge of Brahman [God] as the 
prime source of all and the nothingness of visible creation. It is knowing God as all and yet nothing 
that exists." ( VIB.174.12-13 r 17-18 ) 

What motivates any person to seek this knowledge is the same thing that motivated Rama, a deep 
apathy towards everything the world has to offer. Upon attaining the state of enlightenment, the living 
liberated abide in bliss and see all as Divine Consciousness. "All intellectual conceptions cease upon 
the spiritual perception of God. There ensues an utter and dumb silence." ( III. 84.25 ) "Know that this 
state of transcendent bliss can only be attained through intense meditation." ( VIB. 163.46 ) 

Such a person does not identify with his or her body and has no sense of personal identity. They 
engage in ordinary activities, as is the custom for the society in which they live, but they have an utter 
disregard for any personal benefit. Such people are unrecognizable by the ignorant, yet they command 
the respect and affection of all. The Self realized have a feeling of fellow-love towards all creation. 
"Regard everything in the same light as yourself and observe a universal benevolence towards all 
beings. . . . Let your continued observance of toleration preserve you from acts of intolerance, which 
tend at best to oppress others." f VIB. 198.7. 35 ) 

They see all things in a different light. "In this state of emancipation we see past and present, and all 
our sights and doings in them, as present before us." ( VIB. 194.37 ) "When this material world is 
viewed in its ethereal and intellectual light, the distresses of this delusive world take to flight and its 
miseries disappear. As long as this intellectual view of the world does not reveal itself to the sight of 
a man, the miseries of the world trouble him stronger and closer on every side." ( VIB. 178.59-60 ) 

Rama asks how to tell the genuinely Self realized from the pretended or hypocrites. ( VIB. 102.20-21 ) 
Vasishta answers that if they act as if perfect, that also is good. "Only those who know the know able 

and are equally pure in their minds can distinguish hypocrites from other people." f VIB. 102.26 ^ He 
goes on to explain that the realized stay out of the public eye. "They are the best of men who hide their 
good qualities from others. For what man is there who will expose his most precious treasure in the 
market with the raw produce of his land? The reason to conceal rare virtues is to keep them unnoticed 
by the public. The wise who lack desire for reward or reputation have nothing to reap or expect from 
the public." ( VIB. 102.27-28 ^ 

The Requirement of Personal Effort 

There is nothing fatalistic about Yoga Vasishta. Early in the work, immediately after Rama completes 
his speech on the vanity of everything the world has to offer, Vasishta hammers away on the need for 
personal effort. This theme is woven throughout the book. 

There is no fate or karma. What we call fate is the result of prior effort. Although we have become 
habituated because of our past efforts (desires, attachments, vasanas), our efforts in the present time 
are more powerful than those of the past. ( II.4-5 ) 

"The presence of the Holy Light is not to be had by a teacher's lectures or the teaching of scriptures. It 
is not the result of good acts or the company of holy men. It is the result of your own reasoning." 
( V.12.17 ) "[T]he pious acts of men, their riches and their friends are of no use for their salvation from 
the miseries of life. Only their own efforts are of use for the enlightenment of their soul." ( V.13.8 ) 

"[T]he primary cause of spiritual light is a man's intelligence, which is only gained by exertion of his 
mental powers. The secondary causes may be the blessing and grace of a god, but I wish you to prefer 
the former one for your salvation." ( V.43.11 ) 

Vasishta's teaching begins with the need for personal effort and not religion or teachers or good 
deeds. The book pretty much ends on the same subject. Rama asks whether there is any good studying 
the scriptures or listening to spiritual teachers. Vasishta says they are not the means to understanding. 
"So it is, O mighty armed Rama, that the scriptures are not the means to divine knowledge. Scriptures 
are profuse with words; divine knowledge is beyond the reach of words." ( VIB.196.10 ) 

"Transcendental knowledge of God cannot be derived from the doctrines of the scriptures, or from the 
teachings of our preceptors. We can never know the unknowable one through gifts and charities, or by 
divine service and religious observances. These and other acts and rites are falsely said to be the 
causes of divine knowledge, which can never be attained by them." ( VIB.197.18-19 ) 

Religion, scriptures, the company of the wise, and good deeds serve to create the opportunity to 
understand, but ultimately, one has to do the work alone. One has to become dispassionate, learn to be 
without desires, practice good conduct, study scriptures and learn from teachers. Then one has to 
internalize everything. 

"Rama, you have heard whatever is worth hearing. You also know all that is worth knowing. Now I 
see there is nothing left worth communicating to you for your higher knowledge. Now you have to 
reconcile in yourself, by your best understanding, all that I have taught you and what you have read 
and learnt in the scriptures, and harmonize the whole for your guidance." ( VIB. 203 .20-21 ) 

Surplus, Irrelevant & Unimportant Sections 

Almost every story in Yoga Vasishta , and there are many of them, begins with a long description of 
idyllic nature, people and heavens. Among the longest description of nature is when the four copies of 
King Vipaschit, accompanied by his court, survey the lands they had conquered, including walking on 
the waters of the ocean to travel to other continents. 

There are several long sections, some spanning numerous chapters, describing visions of the end of 
creation. Vasishta describes his own visions over several chapters in the second part of Book y but 
there are other detailed descriptions of cosmic dissolution. 

Kings fight wars and Rama was born to be a king and fight a war against the King of Sri Lanka, the 
demon Ravana. Perhaps that is why Vasishta delivers such a long, detailed account of the battle 
between King Viduratha and King Sindhu in Book III. The wars between demons and gods get 
extended coverage. In the last Book, King Vipaschit battling his enemies is also an extended 
description ending with a catalogue of the peoples he defeated. 

These long, detailed descriptions of creation, the end of creation, and battles are typically omitted in 
any abridgment of Yoga Vasishta, even more complete translations. Presumably, the idea is that these 
descriptions are overly long, repetitive and irrelevant to why people should read Yoga Vasishta , its 
spiritual philosophy. It's surplus or not important. 

Creation, its end, and the wars in between are all a part of life. Yoga Vasishta is about life, how to 
live it without being enslaved to desires. We may read these descriptions less carefully than the 
philosophical parts, but to eliminate them takes away from how Yoga Vasishta works on he mind. 

These long, repeated descriptions emphasize the creativity of God. There is nothing so beautiful or so 
violent that is not an expression of God's consciousness. 

One needs to read and re-read Yoga Vasishta in detail, the full version. Some parts we need to read 
slowly, others may only create images in the mind. No summary or abridgment is equal to the impact 
of the original, even though many, many passages seem redundant or irrelevant. There are many 
obscure passages and many answers that don't seem responsive to Rama's questions. But somehow, it 
all is impressed upon the mind which becomes more open to what is really going on. 

Humor in Yoga Vasishta 

Yoga Vasishta is a challenging read because of its length, its setting in medieval India, and the subject 
matter itself, the nature of reality. It doesn't make the reading any lighter when Vasishta regularly 
describes people who believe in external reality as worse than beasts. He is dead serious about 
despising everything the world has to offer. Yet there is also humor in Yoga Vasishta. 

Book IE has the story of men in a desert, alternating among beating themselves, falling into pits, and 
jumping into thorny thickets. ( HI.98 ) 

Even Vasishta recognizes humor. "Now, Rama, listen as I tell you the story of the false and fanciful 
man. It is pleasant to hear and quite ludicrous and laughable from first to last." ( VIA.112.15 ) It is the 
parable of the blockhead who imagines a home for himself from where he can rule his empire that is a 
void. Of course, it is a story about us. 

Some humor is in the word play. Mitra in his translation notes the use of alliteration in the original 
Sanskrit descriptions of battle. "The whole of this chapter abounds in onomatopoeian alliterations, 
and is more a play upon words than display of sense. However, it is interesting for these jingling 
words and for the names of the weapons in use among the ancients." ( III. 3 3 ) Chapter 165 in Book VI, 
part 2, is obviously a word play on daydreams and sleep-dreams. 

The story of Gadhi includes citizens using the royal elephant to choose their next king. Vasishta seems 
to enjoy the situation. "The royal elephant was employed as a jeweler to select the best gem to be 
placed on the royal throne." ( V.44.29 ) 

Some of the humor is more subtle. Consider the premise of the demon Karkati ("Crooked Crab") who 
undertakes tapas in order to become a needle, Suchi ("Pin"). The needle is cholera. The demon 
relents and does tapas again and is restored. 

It's hard to read the story of Queen Chudala and King Sikhidwaja without smiling. Chudala attains 
enlightenment but Sikhidwaja, somewhat sexist, cannot bring himself to believe that his wife can 
teach him anything about spirituality. He thinks he has to live like an ascetic to attain enlightenment. 
Ignoring the treasure he has in his wife, he abandons his kingdom to live as a hermit. The queen, 
understanding that her husband will not listen to her, remains behind to rule the kingdom, then 
periodically visits her hermit-husband to see how he is faring. She uses her yogic powers to appear in 
the form of a brahmin boy. The king had not listened to his wife, but now he believes what the boy has 
to say. The wife, in the form of the boy, teaches him that even a hermit can be attached to things. So 
the hermit-king ceremonially burns his remaining meager possessions, even his hut. The description of 
his ceremony is almost comic because the king still doesn't get it. ( VIA.92 ) By the end of story, he 

Significantly enough, Yoga Vasishta has only happy endings. 

Narrow and Universal Feelings 

As written down in medieval times, Yoga Vasishta is not a pure expression of a yogi's teaching. The 
scribes inserted their gloss because some some parts are what we would call culturally insensitive. 
The condescending references towards women and "lower" social classes belong to the pundit 
scribes who wrote down the stories. One cannot imagine a yogi having such attitudes. 

The brahmin scribes who put the existing Sanskrit text in writing were misogynistic to the extent they 
blame women for being the seducers of men and of less value. But in the substance of two of the most 
significant stories themselves, that of Queen Leela and Queen Chudala, it is the woman who attains 
Self realization first and ends up having to wake up their husbands. 

India is held up as the land of wisdom and sages. Certainly, we can believe that India may be the land 
where more sages have lived and the culture of the ancient sages has best been preserved. But 
consistent references to foreigners as being savages, less enlightened or even less than civilized are a 
bit too much. "Among all living beings confined in this earth, only the human race living in this part 
(India) are capable of receiving instruction and civilization." ( IV.40.12 ) This is suitable praise to 
cultivate the patronage of a medieval Indian ruler, to whom the written Yoga Vasishta was directed, 
but yogis do not distinguish on the basis of national identity. 

The most obvious gloss is the reverence towards the brahmin priest class. Brahmins are held up as 
the most pure of men and even gods. At the end of the work, Vasishta instructs King Dasharata to 
reward every brahmin. ( VLB. 2 14.30-32 ) He feeds the brahmins first, ten thousand of them gathered 
from all over the realm, then his family gods, his family and friends, then servants and citizens, and 
only at the end does he bother with the poor, needy, lame, blind and lunatics. 

If this ending isn't enough, Valmiki, the narrator of Yoga Vasishta , is made to state that upon each 
recital of the work, the brahmins are to be rewarded. "At the close of reciting these lectures on the 
way to attain human salvation, it is suitable for every sensible man to honor brahmins with diligence 
and serve them with desirable gifts of food and drink and furnish them with good houses for their 
lodging. They should also be rewarded with gifts and payments and supplied with money to their 
hearts' desire and to the utmost capacity of the donor. Then the giver or master of the ceremony 
should rest assured of having discharge his duty and reaped the merit according to the intent of the 
scriptures." ( IVB.215.15-16) 

The consist praise for the brahmin caste of priests, together with disdain for tribals, shudras (low 
caste) and chandalas (mixed child of a shudra and one of the three higher castes) also reflect an 
attitude that we should consider prejudiced. Even so, the brahmin pundits did not alter the many 
stories of demons who attained Self realization, and the one person who survives all the ages is a 
crow, Bhushunda. 

Periodically, there is a sentence about universal love. This is the attitude that reflects the yogi. "The 
mind, cleansed of its selfishness, turns to universal benevolence and philanthropy." ( IV. 3 5. 67 ) 

"Fellow feeling for all living beings makes the best state of the mind." ( IV.56.42 ) 

"Know Rama that all created beings are friendly and useful to you, and there is no person or thing in 
the world with which you are not related in some way. It is false to look anyone as a friend or foe 
among the various orders of created beings in the universe. In reality, each may be of help to you, 

however unfriendly they may appear at first." ( VAS.63-64 ) 

The truth in Yoga Vasishta is universal fellow-feeling where gender, culture, caste or even demons 
are seen only as appearances. This is the yogi's teaching. 

Words & Terminology 

No doubt there are precise nuances in meaning in the Sanskrit and the English vocabulary is very 
limited in its ability to describe spiritual matters. So it is inherently impossible to "accurately" 
translate a work like Yoga Vasishta into English. It's like trying to translate the Quran into English. 
The subtlety and beauty of the original Arabic doesn't translate into English. Actually, it's a problem 
of any translation between any two languages. 

The Mitra translation does use some English words which may have made sense in the academic, 
essentially European-centric Asiatic studies environment in which he wrote. A century ago, 
academics studied Indian religion as if it was a branch of anthropology, typically with an unstated 
bias that non- Western culture was somehow inferior. Mitra, bless his soul, took pains to write a 
detailed, annotated treatise on yoga philosophy and include it in the 1891 publication of Yoga 
Vasishta. It argues that yoga philosophy is consistent with other religions, including Christianity, 
Gnosticism and ancient Greek philosophy. 

Perhaps Mitra used words like "trance" or "hypnosis" for samadhi because they were more 
acceptable to academia. Or maybe he thought these words would best express the meaning to a 19th 
century English audience. Today, many in the West have some personal experience with different 
spiritual traditions. Some Sanskrit words like yoga, pranayama, and samadhi have become familiar. 
So today, "trance" or "hypnosis" for samadhi is unacceptable and extremely misleading. 

Other misleading usage is more subtle. Mitra most often uses "Intellect" for chit. I am no Sankrit 
scholar, but intelligence has too many connotations of rational thinking or IQ. The word 
consciousness is more subtle, amorphous and appropriate. 

Then there is the problem of God and gods. The English word for paramatman is "God". 
Unfortunately, we also use the word "god" for lesser deities, even idols. 

Fortunately, Vasishta often reminds us that in the end, the words not only don't count, they are a 

"Besides the names that I have already mentioned for the mind, the disputants in mental philosophy 
have invented many others agreeably to their diverse theories. They have attributed many names to the 
mind according to the views in which they want to exhibit its nature, such as calling it intellect, 
understanding or sensation and so forth. One takes it as dull matter and another as the living principle. 
Someone calls it ego, while others apply the term understanding. . . . All these various doctrines, 
arising at different times and in distant countries, lead at last to the same Supreme Being .... 
Ignorance of this supreme truth and misunderstanding among conflicting doctrines cause the adherents 
of different systems and sects to carry on endless and bitterly acrimonious disputes among 
themselves." aiI.96.45-47. 51-2 ) 

"Rama, know that the words vibration and inaction, desire and no desire, and such other spiritual or 
theological terms, only serve to burden and misled the mind to error. Keep yourself from thinking on 
these. Remain in your peace and quiet, whether you attain your perfection or otherwise." ( VIA. 67. 3 5 ) 

"So it is, O mighty armed Rama, that the scriptures are not the means to divine knowledge. Scriptures 
are profuse with words; divine knowledge is beyond the reach of words." ( VIB.196.10 ) 

Endless Possibilities 

Vasishta & Rama 

Yoga Vasishta is addressed to a future king, Rama. Sage Vasishta was consulted because young Rama 
had become so apathetic that he would be unable to assume his duties to succeed his father on the 

At the end, Rama not only attains Self realization, he also understands that one who is completely 
unattached to the world also should perform the duties to which he was born. 

Rama, being an incarnation of a god born to serve humanity on a cosmic level, is a bit special. Rama 
was the perfect student and Vasishta was the perfect teacher. Rama attained Self realization by 
listening to Vasishta's lectures. The rest of us can benefit from the recorded lectures, but we may not 
be as perfect as Rama. 

Vasishta & the Rest of Us 

Several times in Yoga Vasishta , the sage gives Rama examples of how fully enlightened kings and 
emperors ruled their nations without any sense of personal attachment. Vasishta's advice and 
teachings are as applicable to each person as they are to Rama. Each one of us rules a kingdom. 

Learn to diminish desires and abide in the consciousness that we really are. That consciousness is 
unaffected by the pleasure or pains that appear to exist in the world. We can engage in the business 
and activities to which we were born without worrying about the results. If we use our reason to 
inquire into the nature of existence, study spirituality, learn from others, and practice meditation, we 
will come to know who we are and why we are here. Even if we don't become liberated in this 
lifetime, our lives will be improved with more understanding and peace and that will give us a leg up 
the next time we dream up a life. 

More accurately because there is no time, we become more connected and get assistance from 
simultaneous other lives and spiritual masters radiating out from to the Supreme Soul to this life. 

We need not expect to attain the ultimate liberation. Vasishta teaches that the desire for liberation can 
be as limiting as any other desire. Ultimately, there is no ignorance and no liberation. We asked 
Shivabalayogi whether we all become yogis sooner or later. He replied, "It depends upon God, 
whoever God chooses." 

The Practical Yoga Vasishta: Its Applications 

Among the available scriptures, Yoga Vasishta is uniquely powerful. The ramifications of its 
philosophy are staggering. It is the ultimate self-help book. The opportunities for creativity are 
without limit. 

Everything we can perceive with our senses is a creation of someone's mind. Our dreams, silly and 
nonsensical as they are, are the creations of our minds. See the staggering growth, beauty, symmetry 
and structure of an oak tree, for example. Imagine the mind that created such harmony, far more 
refined and controlled than the disorganized monkey-mind that creates our own silly dreams. But we 
do create our own waking-dreams, our lives, and whether we like our lives or not, they are our own 
expressions of staggering growth, beauty, symmetry and structure. 

"He who reads this spiritual work once, then neglects it thinking he has already read it and turns to the 

study of unspiritual books, is a miserable fool .... This excellent work is to be read always .... This 
book is calculated to reward the labor of the student if constantly read with reverence and rightly 
explained with diligence." ( VIE. 163 .49-50 ) 

"Now you have to reconcile in yourself, by your best understanding, all that I have taught you and 
what you have read and learnt in the scriptures, and harmonize the whole for your guidance." 

r viB.203.2n 

— Thomas L. Palotas 

From V. L. Mitra's Preface to the 1891 Edition (About the Historical Vasishta) 

In this age of the cultivation of universal learning and its investigation into the deep recesses of the 
dead languages of antiquity, when the literati of both continents are so sedulously employed in 
exploring the rich and almost inexhaustible mines of the ancient literature of this country, it has given 
an impetus to the philanthropy of our wise and benign government to the institution of a searching 
enquiry into the sacred language of this land. And when the restoration of the long lost works of its 
venerable sages and authors through the instrumentality of the greatest bibliomaniac savants and 
linguists in the several presidencies has led the literary Asiatic societies of the East and West to the 
publication of the rarest and most valuable Sanskrit manuscripts, it cannot be deemed preposterous in 
me to presume, to lay before the public a work of no less merit and sanctity than any hitherto 

The Yoga Vasishta is the earliest work on yoga or speculative and abstruse philosophy delivered by 
the venerable Vedic sage Vasishta to his royal pupil Rama, the victor of Ravana and hero of the first 
epic Ramayana, and written in the language of Valmiki, the prime bard in pure Sanskrit, the author of 
that popular epic and the Homer of India. It embodies in itself the loci communes or commonplaces 
relating to the science of ontology, the knowledge of sat — real entity, and asat — unreal non-entity; 
the principles of psychology or doctrines of the passions and feelings; the speculations of metaphysics 
in dwelling upon our cognition, volition and other faculties of the mind and the tenets of Ethics and 
practical morality. Besides, there are a great many precepts on theology, and the nature of the 
Divinity, and discourses on spirituality and theosophy; all delivered in the form of Plato's Dialogues 
between the sages, and tending to the main enquiry concerning the true felicity, final beatitude or 
summum bonum of all true philosophy. 

These topics have singly and jointly contributed to the structure of several separate systems of science 
and philosophy in succeeding ages, and have formed the subjects of study both with the juvenile and 
senile classes of people in former and present times, and I may say, almost among all nations in all 
countries throughout the civilized world. 

It is felt at present to be a matter of the highest importance by the native community at large, to repress 
the growing ardor of our youth in political polemics and practical tactics, that are equally pernicious 
to and destructive of the felicity of their temporal and future lives, by a revival of the humble 
instructions of their peaceful preceptors of old, and reclaiming them to the simple mode of life led by 
their forefathers, from the perverted course now gaining ground among them under the influence of 
Western refinement. Outward peace with internal tranquility is the teaching of our Shastras, and these 
united with contentment and indifference to worldly pleasures, were believed according to the tenets 
of yoga doctrines, to form the perfect man — a character which the Aryans have invariably preserved 
amidst the revolutions of ages and empires. It is the degeneracy of the rising generation, however, 
owing to their adoption of foreign habits and manners from an utter ignorance of their own moral 
code, which the publication of the present work is intended to obviate. 

From the description of the Hindu mind given by Max Muller in his History of the Ancient Literature 
of India (p. 18) it will appear, that the esoteric faith of the Aryan Indian is of that realistic cast as the 
Platonic, whose theory of ontology viewed all existence, even that of the celestial bodies, with their 
movements among the precepta of sense, and marked them among the unreal phantoms or vain mirage, 

as the Hindu calls them, that are interesting in appearance but useless to observe. They may be the 
best of all precepta, but fall very short of that perfection, which the mental eye contemplates in its 
meditation-yoga. The Hindu yogi views the visible world exactly in the same light as Plato has 
represented it in the simile commencing the seventh book of his Republic. He compares mankind to 
prisoners in a cave, chained in one particular attitude, so as to behold only an ever varying 
multiplicity of shadows, projected through the opening of the cave upon the wall before them, by 
certain unseen realities behind. The philosopher alone, who by training or inspiration is enabled to 
turn his face from these visions, and contemplate with his mind, that can see at-once the unchangeable 
reality amidst these transient shadows. 

The first record that we have of Vasishta is that he was the author of the 7th Mandala of the Rig Veda 
(Ashtaka v. 15-118). He is next mentioned as Purohita or joint minister with Viswamitra to king 
Sudasa, and to have a violent contest with his rival for the ministerial office (Mull. Hist. S. Lit. page 
486, Web. Id. p. 38). He is said to have accompanied the army of Sudasa, when that king is said to 
have conquered the ten invading chiefs who had crossed over the river Parushni (Hydroates or Ravi) 
to his dominions (Mull. Id. p. 486). Viswamitra accompanied Sudasa himself beyond Vipasa, 
Hyphasis or Beah and Satadru-Hisaudras-Sutlej (Max Muller, Ancient Sanscrit literature page 486). 
These events are recorded to have occurred prior to Vasishta's composition of the Mandala which 
passes under his name and in which they are recorded. (Mull. Id. p. 486). 

The enmity and implacable hatred of the two families of Vasishtas and Vishwamitras for generations, 
form subjects prominent throughout the Vedic antiquity, and preserved in the tradition of ages (Mull. 
Id. p. 486, Web. Id. p. 37). Another cause of it was that, Harischandra, King of Ayodhya, was cursed 
by Vasishta, whereupon he made Vishwamitra his priest to the annoyance of Vasishta, although the 
office of Brahmana was held by him (Muller Id. page 408 Web. pp. 31-37). In the Brahmana period 
we find Vasishta forming a family title for the whole Vasishta race still continuing as a Gotra name, 
and that these Vasishtas continued as hereditary Gurus and purohitas to the kings of the solar race 
from generation to generation under the same title. The Vasishtas were always the brahmins or high 
priests in every ceremony, which could not be held by other brahmins according to the Sata patha 
Brahmana (Mull. Id. page 92); and particularly the Indra ceremony had always to be performed by a 
Vasishta, because it was revealed to their ancestor the sage Vasishta only (Web. Ind. Lit. p. 123); and 
as the Satapatha Brahmana-Taittiriya Sanhita mentions it. 

"The Rishis do not see Indra clearly, but Vasishta saw him. Indra said, I will tell you, O Brahman, so 
that all men who are born, will have a Vasishta for his Purohita.'" (Max Mull. Ans. Sans. Lit. p. 92. 
Web. Id. p. 123). This will show that the sloka works, which are attributed to Vasishta, Yajnavalkya 
or any other Vedic rishi, could not be the composition of the old rishis, but of some one of their 
posterity; though they might have been propounded by the eldest sages, and then put to writing by oral 
communication or successive tradition by a distant descendant or disciple of the primitive rishis. 
Thus we see the Drahyayana Sutras of the Sama Veda is also called the Vasishta Sutras, from the 
author's family name of Vasishta (Web. Id. p. 79). The Asvalayana Grihya Sutra assigns some other 
works to Vasishta, viz., the Vasishta pragatha, probably Vasishta Hymni of Bopp; the Pavamanya, 
Kshudra sukta, Mahasukta &c. written in the Vedic style. There are two other works attributed to 
Vasishta, the Vasishta Sanhita on Astronomy (Web. Id. p. 258) and the Vasishta Smriti on Law (Web. 
Id. p. 320), which from their compositions in Sanskrit slokas, could not be the language or work of 

the Vedic rishi, but of some one late member of that family. Thus our work of Yoga Vasishta has no 
claim or pretension to its being the composition of the Vedic sage; but as one propounded by the sage, 
and written by Valmiki in his modern Sanskrit. Here the question is whether Vasishta the preceptor of 
Rama, was the vedic Vasishta or one of his descendants, I must leave for others to determine. 

Again in the later Aranyaka period we have an account of a theologian Vasishta given in the Arshik- 
Upanishad as holding a dialogue on the nature of atma or soul among the sages, Vishwamitra, 
Jamadagni, Bharadwaja, Gautama and himself; when Vasishta appealing to the opinion of Kapila 
obtained their assent (Weber Id. p. 162). This appears very probably to be the theological author of 
our yoga, and eminent above his contemporaries in his knowledge of the Kapila Yoga Shastra which 
was then current, from this sage's having been a contemporary with King Sagara, a predecessor of 

In the latest Sutra period we find a passage in the Grihya-Sutra-parisishta about the distinctive mark 
of the Vasishta Family from those of the other parishads or classes of the priesthood. It says: 

"The Vasishtas wear a braid (lock of hair) on the right side, the Atreyas wear three braids, the 
Angiras have five braids, the Bhrigus are bald, and all others have a single crest." (Muller Id. p. 53). 
The Karma pradipa says, "The Vasishtas exclude meat from their sacrifice; (Muller A. S. Lit. p. 54), 
and the color of their dress was white {Id. p. 483)." Many Vasishtas are named in different works . . . 
bearing no other connection with our author, than that of their having been members of the same family 
(Muller'sA S. Lit. p. 44). 

Without dilating any longer with further accounts relating to the sage Vasishta of which many more 
might be gathered from various Shastras, I shall add in the conclusion the following notice which is 
taken of this work by Professor Monier Williams in his work on Indian Wisdom p. 370. 

"There is," says he, "a remarkable work called Vasishta Ramayana or Yoga Vasishta or Vasishta 
Maharamayana in the form of an exhortation, with illustrative narratives addressed by Vasishta to his 
pupil the youthful Rama, on the best means of attaining true happiness, and considered to have been 
composed as an appendage to the Ramayana by Valmiki himself. There is another work of the same 
nature called the Adhyatma Ramayana which is attributed to \fyasa, and treat of the moral and 
theological subjects connected with the life and acts of that great hero of Indian history. Many other 
works are extant in the vernacular dialects having the same theme for their subject which it is 
needless to notice in this place." 

Vasishta, known as the wisest of sages, like Solomon the wisest of men, and Aurelius the wisest of 
emperors, puts forth in the first part and in the mouth of Rama the great question of the vanity of the 
world, which is shown synthetically to a great length from the state of all living existences, the 
instinct, inclinations, and passions of men, the nature of their aims and objects, with some discussions 
about destiny, necessity, activity and the state of the soul and spirit. The second part embraces various 
directions for the union of the individual with the universal Abstract Existence — the Supreme Spirit 
— the subjective and the objective truth — and the common topics of all speculative philosophy. 

Thus says Milton, "The end of learning is to know God." 

So the Persian adage, "Akhiral Urn buad ilmi Khoda." 

Such also the Sanskrit, "Savidya tan matir yaya." 

And the Shruti says, "Yad jnatwa naparan jnanam." I.e., "It is that which being known, there is 
nothing else required to be known" 

— V. L. Mitra 

On Detachment 
(Vairagya Khanda) 

This section opens with a description of the mental state of Rama on his return from pilgrimage. 
King Dasharatha summons Rama into the presence of the sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra. 
Vasishta asks Rama to explain the reasons for his melancholy state of mind and his indifference 
towards all worldly affairs. Rama responds by relating the thoughts and reflections that had been 
troubling his mind and giving him no peace. His words and attitude reveal the awakening of a 
burning detachment (vairagya). However, Rama has serious doubts about the soundness of his 
conclusions about life, so he asks his guru for instruction. Vasishta begins his teaching and all the 
legendary saints and yogis gather in King Dasharatha 's hall to listen to this heavenly dialogue. 

Chapter 1 — Introduction: Sutikshna & Agastya; Karunya & Agnivesya; Suruchi & Divine 

Messenger; King Arishtanemi, Indra & Valmiki 

Hail the Eternal. 

1 Om, salutation to that Reality from whom all beings proceed, by whom they are manifest, upon 
whom they depend, and in whom they become extinct. 2 He is the knower, the knowledge and all that 
is to be known. He is the seer, the act of seeing, and all that is to be seen. He is the actor, the cause 
and the effect, therefore salutation to He who is all knowledge himself. 3 Salutation to He who is 
supreme bliss itself, from whom flow the dews of delight both in heaven and earth, and who is the life 

4 One Sutikshna, a brahmin whose mind was full of questions, went to the hermitage of Agastya and 
respectfully asked the sage, 5 "O great sage! You are informed in all the ways and truths of virtue, and 
know all the scriptures with certainly. I am in a great doubt, and I pray you will kindly remove it. 

6 Tell me, in your opinion, whether liberation results from a man's acts or his knowledge or both?" 

7 Agastya replied: — 

As the birds fly in the air with both wings, so the highest state of emancipation is attained through both 
knowledge and acts. 8 Neither our acts nor knowledge alone produces liberation, but both together are 
the means. 9 1 will recite to you an example from old traditions, a story of a brahmin named Karunya, 
who was learned in the Vedas in the days of old. 

10 He was the son of Agnivesya and accomplished in the Vedas and all their branches. After finishing 
his studies with his teacher, he returned to his own home. n He remained a skeptic at home, reluctant 
and impassive to do anything. When his father Agnivesya saw his son so slack in his duties, he 
upbraided him for his good. 12 Agnivesya said, "My son, why do you not discharge your duties? Why 
are you not observing the daily rituals and the injunctions of the holy scriptures? 13 Tell me how can 
you succeed in anything if you remain inactive? How can you attain salvation? Tell me why you are 
not doing anything." 

1 4 Karunya replied, "The offering of daily oblations, and performance of morning and evening 
devotions during life, are inculcated in the Veda and law as the active duties. 15 But it is neither by 
acts or riches, nor by means of children that one obtains his liberation. It is solely by self-denial that 
the great souls taste the ambrosia (of emancipation). 16 Tell me my father! Which of these rules am I to 
observe? Doubtful of this I have become indifferent to acts." 

17 Agnivesya said, "Hear me, my son." After so saying, Karunya held his silence. His father seeing 
him quiet, continued speaking. 18 "My son, let me tell you a story. When you have fully considered its 
meaning, you may do as you like." 

Agnivesya speaking: — 

19 There was a lady named Suruchi, the best of the apsara nymphs, who was seated on the mountain 
peak of Himalaya, surrounded by peacocks. 20 Here kinnaras inflamed by love sported with their 
mates, and the fall of heavenly streams (Ganga and Yamuna) served to cleanse the gravest sins of 
men. 2 1 She saw a messenger of Indra making his way through the sky. Then Suruchi, this most 

fortunate and best of apsaras, addressed the messenger. 

22 Suruchi said, "O you messenger of gods, tell me kindly from where you come and what place are 
you going at present?" 

23 The divine messenger replied, "Well have you asked, O pretty browed maid, and I will tell you all 
as it is. The royal sage, King Arishtanemi, has given his realm to his son, 24 and with religious 
indifference to the world, has set out to the forest to practice asceticism He is performing his 
austerities on the Gandha-madana Mountains. 25 I am now coming from there after discharge of my 
errand, and returning to Indra's palace to report the matter." 

26 Suruchi said, "Tell me, my lord, what has taken place there? I am humbly very curious. You should 
not cause me the pain of anxiety." 

27 The messenger replied: — 

Hear me, gentle maid. I will describe everything as it has occurred. 

28 On hearing that the king was practicing the utmost rigors of asceticism in that forest, Indra, the lord 
of gods, asked me to take this heavenly car and proceed at once to the spot. 29 "Take this car," said 
Indra, "bearing the apsaras equipped with all their musical instruments, and furnished with a band of 
gandharvas, siddha spiritual masters, yakshas and kinnaras. 30 Convey them," said Indra, "with all 
their string instruments, flutes and drums to the woodland mount of Gandha-madana. 31 There, having 
placed King Arishtanemi in the car, bring him to the enjoyment of heavenly delight in this city of 
Amaravati, the seat of immortals." 

32 The messenger added: — 

Receiving this instruction from Indra and taking the car with all its equipment, I proceeded to that 
mountain. 33 Having arrived at the mountain and advanced to the king's hermitage, I delivered the 
orders of the great Indra to him. 34 Hearing my words, O happy lady, King Arishtanemi reluctantly 
spoke to me saying, "I wish to ask you something, O messenger, which I hope you will answer. 35 Tell 
me what good and what evil are in heaven, so that I may decide whether I want to settle there." 

36 1 answered, saying, "In heaven there is ample reward for merit, conferring perfect bliss (to all); but 
it is the degree of merit that leads one to higher heavens. 37 By moderate virtue, one is certainly 
entitled to a middle station. Virtue of an inferior order leads a person to a lower position. 38 But one's 
virtue is destroyed by impatience at the excellence of his betters, by haughtiness to his equals, and by 
joy at the inferiority of others. 39 When one's virtue is thus destroyed, he must enter the abode of 
mortals. These and the like are the effects of good and evil in heaven." 

40 Hearing this, O good maiden, King Arishtanemi answered, "O divine messenger, I do not like 
heaven that has such conditions. 41 Henceforth I will practice the most austere form of asceticism and 
abandon this my unhallowed human frame in the same way as a snake abandons his time-worn skin. 42 
Be pleased, O messenger of the gods, to return with your heavenly car to the presence of the great 
Indra from where you came. Travel in good fortune." 

43 The celestial messenger resumed: — 

Thus being bid, I went, O good lady, to the presence of Indra. When I reported the matter, Indra was 
struck with great wonder. 44 Then the great Indra again spoke to me with a sweet voice saying, "My 
messenger, go again to that king and take him to the hermitage of Valmiki. 4 5 Valmiki is well 
acquainted with every truth. Tell him my errand, which is to instruct the dispassionate king, saying, 
46 'O great sage! Plead with this king who is humble and dispassionate and dislikes the enjoyments of 
heaven 47 so that this king, who is aggrieved at the miseries of the world, may gradually come to attain 
his liberation' " 

48 1 went and explained my mission to the royal hermit, then took him to sage Valmiki. I delivered 
great Indra's charge so that the king may practice for his final liberation. 49 Sage Valmiki welcomed 
the king with gentle inquiries regarding his welfare. 5 ° The king replied, "O great sage, you are 
informed in all the truths of religion. You are the greatest of those who know the knowable. The very 
sight of you has given me all that I desired, and therein is all my welfare. 51 Great sage, I wish to learn 
from you how I may escape the miseries that arise from one's connection with this world. I hope you 
will reveal this to me without reserve." 

5 2 Valmiki said, "Hear me O king! I will relate the entire Ramayana to you. By hearing and 
understanding you will be saved even while in this life. 53 great and intelligent king, listen as I 
repeat the sacred conversation that took place between Rama and Vasishta relating the way of 
liberation, which I well know from my own knowledge." 

54 The king replied, "O best of sages, tell me precisely who and what this Rama was. What was his 
bondage and how did he become free of it?" 

55 Valmiki said, "Vishnu was cursed to take the form of a prince with an assumed ignorance like that 
of men of little understanding." 

56 The king said, "Tell me who was the author of that curse, and how it could befall Rama, who was 
the personification of consciousness and joy, and the very image of wisdom." 

57 Valmiki replied: — 

Sanatkumara, who was devoid of desires, had been residing at the abode of Brahma, to which Vishnu, 
the lord of the three worlds, was a visitor from Vaikuntha. 58 The lord god Vishnu was welcomed by 
all the inhabitants of the Brahmaloka as well as by Brahma himself, except by Sanatkumara. The god 
Vishnu addressed Sanatkumara, 59 "Sanatkumara, it is ignorance that makes you forsake your desires 
for fear of rebirth, therefore you must be born under the name of Sara-janma to be troubled with 

60 In return, Sanatkumara denounced Vishnu by saying, "Even as all discerning as you are, you shall 
have to sacrifice your omniscience for some time, and live as an ignorant mortal." 

61 There was another curse pronounced upon Vishnu by the sage Bhrigu who, seeing his wife killed by 
Vishnu, became incensed with anger and said, "Vishnu you shall have also to be deprived of your 
wife." 62 Vishnu was again cursed by Vrinda to be deprived of his wife, on account of his beguiling 
her (in the form of her husband). 63 Again, when the pregnant wife of Devadatta was killed from fear 
on seeing the man-lion figure of Vishnu (Narasimha), 64 the leonine Vishnu was denounced by the 

husband who was sorely afflicted at the loss of his wife. 

65 Thus cursed by Bhrigu, Sanatkumara, Devadatta and Vrinda, Vishnu was obliged to be born on this 
earth in the figure of a human being. 66 1 have explained to you the causes of all the curses passed on 
Vishnu. Now I will tell you other things, and you will have to listen carefully. 

Chapter 2 — Reason for Writing the Ramayana 

1 Salutation to the Lord, the Universal Soul, shining manifest in heaven, earth and the sky, and both 
within and without myself. 

2 He is entitled to read this work who is convinced that he is bound, who desires his liberation, and 
who is neither wholly ignorant of nor quite conversant with divine knowledge. 3 The wise man, who 
has well considered this work as the first step, and then comes to think on the means of liberation, 
truly shall be exempt from rebirth. 

Valimiki speaking to King Arishtanemi: — 

4 Know, O destroyer of your enemies, that I have written the history of Rama in the Ramayana as a 
preparatory step to salvation. 5 I gave that history to my attentive pupil, the obedient and intelligent 
Bharadwaja, as the sea yields its gems to their seeker. 6 The learned Bharadwaja repeated the history 
of the Ramayana in the presence of Brahma, seated in a certain forest of the Sumeru Mountain. 7 Lord 
Brahma, the great grandfather of the inhabitants of the three worlds, was so highly pleased with him 
that he addressed him saying, "O my son! Ask the best boon that you wish for." 

8 Bharadwaja said, "O lord who is master of the past and future times, grant me the boon of telling me 
how people are liberated from their miseries." 

9 Brahma said, "Go ask your teacher Valmiki to complete the faultless Ramayana that he has 
undertaken to write. 10 By hearing this work, men will overcome their many errors in the same way as 
the bridge that was built by Rama, who was filled with all good qualities, allowed men to cross the 
sea (to Lanka)." 

11 Valmiki said: — 

Saying this, Brahma, the supreme maker of all beings, accompanied Bharadwaja to my hermitage. 12 I 
eagerly welcomed the god with the argha offerings of water and the like, when the lord of truth spoke 
to me for the good of all creatures. 13 Brahma said, "Do not, O sage, give up your undertaking until its 
final completion. No pain ought to be spared to make the history of Rama as faultless as it ought to be. 

14 By this work of yours men will pass over this repetitive history of the world (samsara) in the same 
manner as one crosses the sea in a vessel." 

15 Again, the uncreated Brahma said to me, "I come to tell you this very thing, that you complete the 
work for the benefit of mankind." 16 Then, O king, in a moment the god disappeared from my sacred 
hermitage, just as a wave subsides in water. 

1 7 1 was struck with wonder at the god's disappearance, then composing my mind, I asked 
Bharadwaja, 18 "Tell me, Bharadwaja, what did Brahma tell me in the hermitage?" 

Bharadwaja answered, 19 "The god commanded you to complete the Ramayana for the good of men 
and as a means for them to cross over the gulf of the world. 20 Now sir," continued Bharadwaja, 
"explain to me how the great minded Rama and his brother Bharata conducted themselves amidst the 
troubles of this world. 21 Tell me also how Satrughna, Lakshman and the renowned Sita, and all those 
who followed Rama, and also the ministers and their highly intelligent sons, conducted themselves on 
earth. 22 Tell me clearly how they escaped all the miseries of this world so that I may do the same for 

the rest of mankind." 

23 Being thus respectfully addressed by Bharadwaja, I was led, O great king, to carry out the request 
of my lord Brahma and narrate the Ramayana to him. I said, 24 "Listen, my son Bharadwaja. I will tell 
you all that you have asked. By hearing, you will become able to cast away the impurity of errors. 

25 You are wise and you have to manage yourself in the manner of the blissful and lotus-eyed Rama, 
with a mind free from worldly attachments." 

26 "It was by this means that Lakshman, Bharata, the great minded Satrughna, Kausalya, Sita, Sumitra, 
as well as Dasharata, 27 with Kritastra and the two friends of Rama, and Vasishta and Vamadeva, and 
the eight ministers of state as well as many others reached the summit of knowledge. 2 8 The eight 
ministers of Rama — Dhrishta, Jayanta, Bhasa, Satya, Vijaya, Vibishanah, Sushena and Hanumana, 
and also Indrajita 29 — are said to have been equally dispassionate in their minds and content with 
what was their lot. They were great souls, free in their lives." 

30 "Well my son, if you follow the manner in which these men observed sacrificial rites, gave and 
received their offerings, and how they lived and thought, you are at once freed from the turmoil of life. 
3 l One fallen in this boundless ocean of the world may enjoy the bliss of liberation by the 
magnanimity of his soul. He shall not come across grief or destitution, but shall remain ever satisfied 
by being freed from the fever of anxiety." 

Chapter 3 — Valmiki Explains Desires & Describes Rama's Pilgrimage to Bharadwaja 

1 Bharadwaja said, "O brahmin, first tell me about Rama, then enlighten me by degrees with the 
knowledge of how to attain liberation in this life so that I may be happy forever." 

2 Valmiki replied: — 

Know, holy saint, that the things seen in this world are deceiving, even as the blueness of the sky is an 
optical illusion. Therefore it is belter to efface them in oblivion rather than to keep their memory. 3 
All visible objects have no actual existence. We have no idea of them except through sensation. 
Inquire into these apprehensions and you will never find them as real. 4 It is possible to attain this 
knowledge. It is fully expounded here. If you will listen attentively, you shall get at the truth and not 

5 The conception of this world is a mistake. Though we actually see it, it never exists. It appears in the 
same light, O sinless saint, as the different colors in the sky. 6 The conviction that the objects we see 
do not exist of themselves leads to the removal of their impressions from the mind. Thus perfected, 
supreme and eternal bliss of self-extinction springs in the mind. 7 Otherwise, there is no peace to be 
had for men like you, rolling in the depths of studies for thousands of years and unacquainted with true 

8 Complete abandonment of desires (vasana, mental conditioning) is called the best state of liberation 
(moksha) and is the only pure step towards happiness. 9 The absence of desires leads to the extinction 
of mental actions, in the same manner as the absence of cold melts small particles of ice. 1 ° Our 
desires uphold our living bodies and bind us tightly to our bodily prison like ropes. These being 
loosened, the inner soul is liberated. 

11 Mental conditioning is of two kinds: pure and impure. The impure ones cause reincarnation, while 
the pure ones serve to destroy it. 12 An impure desire is like a mist of ignorance, the stubborn feeling 
that one is the individual ego. The wise say that individual ego is the cause of rebirth. 13 A pure desire 
is like a parched seed that is incapable of bringing forth the germ of rebirth. It only supports the 
present body. 14 Pure desires, unattended with rebirth, reside in the bodies of men who are living- 
liberated. They are like unmoving wheels. 15 Those who have pure desires are not liable for rebirth. 
They are said to be knowing in all things that ought to be known. These are called the living-liberated 
and are of superior intelligence. 

16 1 will explain to you how the high minded Rama attained the state of liberation in life. Listen to this 
so that old age and death may not come upon you. 17 Hear, O highly intelligent Bharadwaja, the 
auspicious course and conduct of Rama's life, whereby you will be able to understand everything at 
all times. 

1 8 The lotus-eyed Rama, after coming out of his school, remained for many days at home in his 
diversions without anything to fear. 19 In the course of time he took the reins of the government and his 
people enjoyed all the bliss that absence of grief and disease could impart. 

20 At one time, Rama's mind, virtuous as he was, became anxious to see the different places of 
pilgrimage, cities and hermitages. 2 l So with this view, Rama approached his father's feet. He 

touched the nails of his toes like a swan lays hold of lotus buds. 22 "O my father," he said, "my mind 
desires to see the different places of pilgrimage, temples of gods, forests and homes of men. 23 My 
lord, grant me this petition, as there is no petitioner of yours on earth whom you did ever dishonor." 

24 Thus solicited by Rama, the king consulted with Vasishta, and after much reflection granted him the 
first request that Rama ever made. 

25 On a day of lucky stars, Rama set out on his journey with his two brothers, Lakshman and 
Satrughna, having his body adorned with auspicious marks, and having received the blessings 
pronounced on him by the priests. 26 He was also accompanied by a body of learned brahmins, chosen 
by Vasishta for the occasion, and by a select party of his associate princes. 

2 7 He started from home on his pilgrimage after he received the blessings and embraces of his 
mothers. 28 As he went out of his city, the citizens welcomed him with the sounds of trumpets, while 
the bee-like fickle eyes of the city ladies were fixed upon his lotus-like face. 29 The beautiful hands of 
village women threw handfuls of fried paddy rice over his body, making him appear like the 
Himalayas covered with snow. 30 He dismissed the brahmins with honor and went on hearing the 
blessings of the people. He took a good look at the landscape around him, then proceeded towards the 
forest. 3 1 After making his holy ablutions and performing his asceticism and meditation (tapas), he 
continued distributing alms as he started from his palace and gradually passed the limits of Kosala. 

32 He traveled and saw many rivers and their banks, visiting the shrines of gods, sacred forests and 
deserts, hills, seas and their shores far and remote from where men lived. 33 He saw the Mandakini 
River, bright as the moon, the Kalindi River, clear as the lotus, and also the following rivers: 
Sarasvati, Satadru, Chandrabhaga, Iravati, 3 4 Veni, Krishnaveni, Nirvindhya, Saraju, Charmanvati, 
Vitasta, Vipasa and Bahudaka. 35 He saw also the holy places of Prayaga, Naimisha, Dharmaranya, 
Gaya, Varanasi, Srigiri, Kedara, and Pushkara. 36 He saw Lake Manasa and the northern Mansaravara 
lakes, and many fiery lakes and springs, the Bada, the Vmdhya range and the sea. 37 He saw the fiery 
pool of Jwalamukhi, the great shrine of Jagannatha, the fountain of Indradumna and many other 
reservoirs, rivers and lakes. 3 8 He visited the shrine of Kartikeya and the Gandaki River of 
salagramas, and also the sixty- four shrines sacred to Vishnu and Shiva. 39 He saw various wonders, 
the coasts of the four seas, the Vmdhya range, the groves of Hara, and the boundary hills and level 
lands. 40 He visited the places of the great raja rishis and the Brahma rishis. He went wherever there 
was any auspicious sanctuary of the gods and brahmins. 41 The party, honoring Rama, travelled far 
and wide in company with his two brothers and traversed all the four quarters on the surface of the 

42 Honored by the gods, kinnaras and men, and having seen all the places on earth, Rama, the 
descendant of Raghu, returned home like Shiva returning to his own world (shivaloka). 

Chapter 4 — Rama's Return from Pilgrimage 

Valmiki speaking: — 

1 Covered with flowers thrown by people by the handful, Rama entered the palace, just like when the 
beautiful Jayanta, the son of Indra, enters his celestial abode. 2 On his arrival, Rama first bowed 
reverently before his father, then before Vasishta, before his brothers, his friends, the brahmins, and 
the elderly members of the family. 3 Repeatedly embraced as he was by friends, his father, mothers 
and brahmins, the son of Raghu bowed his head down to them with joy. 4 The assembled people, after 
their familiar conversation with Rama in the palace, strolled about on all sides highly delighted with 
his speech that resembled the music of a flute. 5 Thus eight days passed in festive mirth after Rama's 
return, and the elated multitude gave shouts of joy. 

6 Thereafter, Raghava continued to dwell happily at home, describing to his friends the different 
customs and manners of the countries he had visited on all sides. 7 He rose early in the morning and 
performed his morning worship according to law. Then he visited his father, seated like Indra in his 
council. 8 He next passed a fourth part of the day in company with Vasishta and other sages, and was 
greatly edified by their conversations which were full of instruction. 9 For sport, he also used to go to 
the forests full of boars and buffaloes surrounded by a large number of troops as ordered by his 
father. 10 Then, after returning home and performing his bath and other rites with his friends, he took 
his meal with them and passed the night in company with his beloved companions. n In these and 
similar activities he passed his days with his brothers at his father's house, after returning from 

12 O sinless Bharadwaja, with his conduct becoming a prince, Rama passed his days giving delight to 
the good men that surrounded him, like the moon that gladdens mankind with his soothing ambrosial 

Chapter 5 — Rama's Self-Dejection & Its Cause 

1 Valmiki said: — 

Afterwards Rama attained the fifteenth year of his age, and Satrughna and Lakshman, who followed 
Rama in age, also attained the same age. 2 Bharata continued to dwell with joy at the house of his 
maternal grandfather, and King Dasharata ruled the whole earth as usual. 

3 The most wise King Dasharata consulted his ministers day after day about the marriage of his sons. 

4 But as Rama remained at home after his return from pilgrimage, he began to decay day by day like a 
clear lake in autumn. 5 His blooming face, with its out-stretched eyes, assumed a paleness by degrees 
like that of the withering petals of the white lotus beset by a swarm of bees. 6 He sat silent and 
motionless, his legs folded in full lotus position (padmasana), absorbed in thought with his palm 
placed under his cheek and neck. 7 Being emaciated in person and growing thoughtful, sad and 
distracted in his mind, he remained speechless like a mute figure in a painting. 8 His family had to 
repeatedly ask him to perform his daily rites and when he did, he discharged them with a sad face. 

9 Seeing the accomplished Rama, the mine of merits, in such a plight, all his brothers likewise were 
reduced to the same condition with him. 

10 The king of the earth, seeing all his three sons dejected and lean, became anxious, as did all his 
queens. n Dasharata asked Rama repeatedly in a gentle voice what his anxiety was and what was the 
cause of his thoughtfulness, but Rama returned no answer. 12 Then being taken up in his father's lap, 
the lotus-eyed Rama replied that he had no anxiety whatever and held his silence. 

13 Afterwards King Dasharata asked Vasishta, the best of speakers and well informed in all matters, 
as to why Rama was so sorrowful. 14 Sage Vasishta thought over the matter and said, "There is, O 
king, a cause for Rama's sadness, but you need not be anxious about it. 15 Wise men never entertain 
the fluctuations of anger or grief, or a lengthened delight from frivolous causes, just as the great 
elements of the world do not change their states unless it were for the sake of some new production." 

Chapter 6 — Vishwamitra Arrives at the Royal Court 

Valmiki speaking: — 

1 The king was thrown into sorrow and suspense at these words of Vasishta, the prince of sages, but 
kept his silence for sometime and waited. 2 Meanwhile, the queens of the palace kept close watch on 
Rama's movements with anxious carefulness. 

3 At this very time, the famous and great sage Vishwamitra came to visit the king of men at Ayodhya. 

4 The intelligent and wise sage had his sacrificial rites disturbed by rakshasa demons who were 
deceitfully powerful and giddy with their strength. 5 The sage came to visit the king in order to obtain 
protection for his sacrifice, because he was unable to complete it in peace by himself. 6 The 
illustrious Vishwamitra, the gem of austere worship, had come to the city of Ayodhya for the 
destruction of the rakshasas. 

7 Desirous of seeing the king, Vishwamitra told the guards at the gate to report to the king that Kausika 
[i.e. Vishwamitra], son of Gadhi, had arrived. 8 On hearing these words, the guards were struck with 
fear in their minds and ran as they were bid to the palace of the king. 9 Coming to the royal abode, the 
door-keepers informed the chief- warder that Vishwamitra, the royal sage, had arrived. 1 ° The staff- 
bearer immediately presented himself before the king who was seated among his princes and chiefs in 
the court house. The staff-bearer reported, n "Please, your majesty. Waiting at the door is a mighty 
person of majestic appearance, bright as the morning sun, with pendant locks of hair like sunbeams. 

12 The brilliance of his body has brightened the place from the topmost flag down to the ground, and 
made the horses, men and armory shine with a golden color." 

13 As soon as the warder appeared before the king, and with hurried words announced the arrival of 
the sage Vishwamitra, 1 4 the best of kings, surrounded by all the ministers and chiefs, rose at once 
from his throne of gold. 15 Attended by Vasishta and Vamadeva and his staff of princes and chiefs by 
whom he was held in honor and regard, the king immediately walked 16 to where the great sage was 
waiting, and saw Vishwamitra, the chief of sages, standing at the gate. 

17 Vishwamitra 's priestly prowess joined with his military valor made him appear as if the sun had 
descended on earth for some reason. 18 He was hoary with old age, rough skinned by the practice of 
austerities, and covered down to his shoulders by bright red braids of hair that resembled evening 
clouds over the mountain of his brow. 19 He was mild looking and engaging in appearance, but at the 
same time as brilliant as the orb of the sun. He was neither assuming nor repulsive, but possessed of 
an ineffable gravity and majesty in his person. 20 He was attractive yet formidable in appearance, 
clear yet vast in mind, deep and full in knowledge, and shining with inner light. 21 His lifetime had no 
limit, his mind had no bounds, and age had not impaired his understanding. 

He held an ascetic's pot in one hand, his only faithful companion in life. 22 The compassion of his 
mind, added to the sweet complacency of his speech and looks, pleased people as if they were 
actually served nectar drops or sprinkled with ambrosial dew. 23 His body decorated by the sacred 
thread and his prominent white eyebrows made him appear as a wonder to the eyes of his beholders. 

24 On seeing the sage, the lord of earth lowly bowed from a distance, bowing so low that the gems 

hanging from his crown decorated the ground. 25 In his turn, the sage immediately greeted the lord of 
the earth with sweet and kind words, like the sun greeting the lord of the gods. 26 Afterwards the 
assembled brahmins of the court, headed by Vasishta, honored him with their welcomes. 

27 The king said, "O holy sage, we are as highly favored by your unexpected appearance and your 
glorious sight as a bed of lotuses at the sight of the luminous sun. 28 O sage, I feel unending happiness 
at your appearance which knows no bounds. 29 This day we must be placed at the front rank of the 
fortunate, as we have become the object of your arrival." 30 With these and similar conversations that 
went on among the princes and sages, they proceeded to the court-hall where they took their 
respective seats. 

3 l The king, awed by seeing the best of sages (Vishwamitra) with his cheerful face and so very 
prosperous in his asceticism, felt some hesitation to offer the honorary gift reward himself. 32 But the 
sage accepted the arghya water offered him by the king, and hailed the king as the king walked around 
the sage, according to the rules of scripture. 3 3 Thus honored by the king, he with a cheerful 
countenance asked the lord of men about the good health of himself and family, and the fullness of his 
finances. 34 Then coming in contact with Vasishta, the great sage saluted him with a smile, as he 
deserved, and asked him about his health and of those in his hermitage. 

35 After their interview and exchanges of due courtesies had lasted for a while to the satisfaction of 
all in the royal assembly, 36 they both took their respective seats. Everyone in the court respectfully 
greeted the sage of exalted prowess. 37 After Vishwamitra was seated, they made various offerings of 
padya [water to wash the feet], arghya and cattle to him. 

38 Having honored Vishwamitra in due form, the lord of men addressed him in submissive terms with 
the gladdest mind, his palms pressed open against each other. 39 He said, "Sage, your coming here 
makes me as grateful as one who obtains nectar, as rainfall after a drought, and as the blind gains 
sight. 40 Again it is as delightful to me as a childless man who gets a son by his beloved wife, or as 
gaining possession of a treasure in a dream. 4 1 Your arrival is no less pleasing to me than meeting 
with the object of one's wishes, the arrival of a friend, and the recovery of something that was given 
for lost. 42 It gives me joy like that derived from the sight of a deceased friend suddenly returning by 
the way of the sky. It is thus, O holy brahmin, that I welcome your visit to me. 43 Who is there who 
would not be glad to live in heaven? O sage, I feel so happy at your arrival, and this I tell you truly." 

44 "What is your best pleasure? What I may do for you, O scholar who is the best of the virtuous, and 
the most properly deserving of my services? 45 Formerly, you had been famed under the title of royal 
sage, but since, made glorious by dint of your asceticism, you have been promoted to the rank of a 
Brahma rishi. Therefore, you are truly the object of my worship." 

46 "I am so glad at your sight that my inner soul is soothed, just like bathing in the Ganges River 
cheers the mind. 47 Free as you are from fears and desires, from wrath and passions and from the 
feelings of pleasure, pain and disease, it is very wonderful, O holy brahmin, that you should have 
need of me for anything. 48 1 consider myself as situated at a holy sanctuary, and absolved from all my 
sins, or as merged in the lunar sphere, O best of the learned in the truths of the Vedas." 

49 "I understand your appearance as that of Brahma himself before me, and I confess myself, O sage, 

to be purified and favored by your arrival. 50 Indeed, I am so gratified at your arrival that I deem 
myself fortunate in this birth, and that I have not lived in vain but led a truly good life. 51 Since I saw 
you here and made my respectful obeisance to you, my heart cannot contain itself but overflows with 
joy like the sea at the sight of the moon. 52 Whatever may be the purpose of your visit, O greatest of 
sages, know it as already granted, for your commands are always to be obeyed by me." 

53 "You need not hesitate to communicate your request to me, O descendant of Kausika. If you ask, 
there is nothing I will keep from you. 54 You need not doubt my performance. I solemnly state that I 
will execute your request to the last item, as I take you to be the light of a superior divinity." 

55 Upon hearing these sweet words from the king, pleasing to the ears and delivered with humility 
worthy of one knowing himself, the far famed and meritorious chief of the sages felt highly gratified in 

Chapter 7 — Vishwamitra Asks for Rama's Help 

Valmiki speaking: — 

I After the illustrious Vishwamitra had heard the unusually lengthy speech from the lion among kings, 
his hairs stood erect with joy. He said, 2 "This speech is worthy of you, O best of kings on earth, and 
one descended from a royal race, and guided by sage Vasishta himself. 3 Consider well, O king, the 
deed which I have in mind, and support the cause of virtue." 

4 "I am employed, O chief of men, in religious acts for attainment of my consummation, but the 
horrible rakshasa demons have become my great obstructions. 5 Whenever I offer sacrifices to the 
gods at any place, instantly these nocturnal demons appear to destroy my sacrificial rites. 6 On very 
many occasions when I commence my ceremonies, the rakshasa chiefs fling heaps of flesh and blood 
on the sacrificial ground. 7 Being thus obstructed in my sacrificial duties, I now come to you with a 
broken spirit, having labored in vain to complete the rites." 

8 "The vows of the rite prevent me from giving vent to my anger by curses. 9 Such being the sacrificial 
law, I expect by your favor to gain its great object in peace. 10 Being thus oppressed I have recourse 
to your protection, and you should protect me. Otherwise it is an insult for petitioners to be 
disappointed by the best of men as yourself." 

I I "You have a son, the beautiful Rama, powerful as a fierce tiger and strong as the great Indra 
himself. He is able to destroy the rakshasas. 12 May you now deliver that Rama, your eldest son, to 
me, having his youthful locks of hair like the black plumage of a crow, but possessing the true valor of 
a hero. 13 Protected under my sacred authority and by his prowess, he will be able to sever the heads 
of the malicious rakshasas. 14 I will do him an infinity of good services, whereby in the end he will 
become adored by the inhabitants of all three worlds. 15 The night-wandering rakshasas cannot abide 
in the field before Rama, but must fly like stags in the wilderness before a furious lion. 16 No man 
other than Rama can make bold to fight with the rakshasas, just as no animal other than a furious lion 
can stand to fight wild elephants." 

17 "Elated with their strength, these vicious beings have become like poisoned shafts in fighting. Being 
delegates of the demons Khara and Dushana, they are as furious as death itself. 18 They cannot, O tiger 
among kings, be able to sustain the arrows of Rama, but must settle like flying dust under the 
ceaseless showers of his arrows." 

1 9 "Let not paternal affection prevail over you, O king, as there is nothing in this world which the 
high-minded will refuse to part with. 20 1 know it for certain, and so you also should know, that the 
rakshasas must be destroyed by him. Wise men like ourselves will never undertake an uncertainly. 21 1 
well know the great soul of the lotus-eyed Rama, and so does the illustrious Vasishta, and all others 
who are far-seeing. 22 Should the senses of greatness, duty and renown have a seat in your soul, you 
should deliver my desired object to me, your son." 

23 "It will take ten nights to perform the rites of my sacrifice, during which Rama shall have to stay 
with me and kill the rakshasas who are obnoxious to my rites and the enemies of the sacrifice. 24 
King Dasharata, let the ministers headed by Vasishta join and give their assent, and deliver your 

Rama to me. 25 "O descendant of Raghu, you know that auspicious times must not be allowed to slip 
away, so you must not allow my time to slip. So may I have Rama? Be blessed and do not give way to 
sorrow. 26 Even the smallest service, if done in good time, appears to be much, and the best service is 
of no avail if done out of season." 

27 Vishwamitra, the illustrious and holy chief of the sages, paused after saying these words filled with 
virtuous and useful intention. 28 Hearing these words of the great sage, the magnanimous king held his 
silence for some time, with a view to prepare a fitting answer; because no man of sense is ever 
satisfied with talking unreasonably either before others or to himself. 

Chapter 8 — Dasharata's Reply to Vishwamitra 

1 Valmiki added: — 

On hearing Vishwamitra's words, Dasharata, the tiger among kings, remained speechless for a 
moment, and then implored him from the lowliness of his spirit. 2 "Rama, my lotus-eyed boy, is only 
fifteen years of age. I do not see he is a match for the rakshasas." 

3 "Here is a full akshauhini legion of my soldiers, of whom, O my lord, I am the sole commander. 
Surrounded by them I will offer battle to the rakshasa cannibals. 4 Here are my brave generals who 
are well disciplined in warfare. I will be their leader in the height of war with my bow in hand. 

5 Accompanied with these, I can offer fight to the enemies of the gods, and to the great Indra himself, 
in the same manner as the lion withstands wild elephants." 

6 "Rama is only a boy with no knowledge of the strength of our forces. His experience has scarcely 
stretched beyond the inner apartments to the battlefield. 7 He is not well trained in arms, nor is he 
skilled in warfare. He does not know to fight an enemy arrayed in the order of battle. 8 He only knows 
how to walk about in the gardens of this city amidst trees and pleasant groves. 9 He only knows how 
to play with his brother princes in the flowery parks set apart for his play within the precincts of the 

1 ° "Recently, O brahmin, by a sad reverse of my fortune, he has become as lean and pale as the 
withering lotus under the dews. n He has no taste for his food, nor can he walk from one room to 
another, but remains ever silent and slow brooding over his inner grief and melancholy. 12 O chief of 
sages, in my great anxiety about him, I, together with my family and dependants, have been deprived 
of the gist of our bodies and become like the empty clouds of autumn. 13 How can my boy, so young as 
he is and in such an unnatural state of mind, be fit to fight at all, much less with those marauders who 
rove about at night?" 

14 "O high-minded sage, it is one's affection for his son that affords him far greater pleasure than his 
possession of a kingdom, or his connection with beautiful women, or even his relish for the juice of 
nectar. 15 It is from paternal affection that good people perform the hardest duties and austerities of 
religion, and anything which is painful in the three worlds. 16 Men are even prepared under certain 
circumstances to sacrifice their own lives, riches and wives, but they can never sacrifice their 
children. This is the nature of all living beings." 

1 7 "The rakshasas are very cruel in their actions and fight deceitful warfare. The idea that Rama 
should fight them is very painful to me. 18 1 have a desire to live. I cannot dare to live for a moment 
separated from Rama. Therefore, you should not take him away." 

1 9 "O descendant of Kausika, I have passed nine thousand rains in my lifetime before these four 
children were born to me after much austerity. 20 The lotus-eyed Rama is the eldest of these without 
whom the three others can hardly bear to live. 2 1 You are going to deliver this Rama against the 
rakshasas, but when I am deprived of that son, know me certainly for dead. 22 Of my four sons he is 
the one in whom rests my greatest love. Therefore do not take away Rama, my eldest and most 
virtuous son, from me." 

23 "If your intention, O sage, is to destroy the force of night wanderers, take me there accompanied by 
the elephants, horse, chariots and foot soldiers of my army 2 4 Describe to me clearly what these 
rakshasas are, how strong they are, whose sons they be and what are their sizes and figures. 25 Tell me 
the way in which the rakshasas are to be destroyed by Rama or by my children or by me. Tell me 
when they are known to be treacherous in warfare. 2 6 O great sage, tell me all this so that I can 
calculate the possibility of making a stand in the open field against the fiercely disposed rakshasas, 
when they are certainly so very powerful." 

27 "The rakshasa named Ravana is heard to be very powerful. He is brother of Kubera himself, and he 
is the son of the sage Visravas. 28 If it is he, the evil-minded Ravana, who stands in the way of your 
rites, we are unable to contend with that pest. 2 9 Power and prosperity in all their flourish come 
within the reach of the living at times, but they disappear at others. 30 These days we are no match for 
such foes as Ravana and some others. Such is the decree of destiny." 

31 "Therefore, O you who are acquainted with law, do this favor for my son. Unlucky as I am, it is you 
who are the arbiter of my fate. 3 2 The gods, asuras, gandharvas, yakshas, huge beasts, birds and 
serpents are unable to fight with Ravana. What are we human beings in arms to him? 33 That rakshasa 
has the prowess of the most powerful. We cannot afford to fight with him, or even with his children. 
34 This is a peculiar age in which good people are made powerless. Moreover, I am disabled by old 
age and lack that spirit, even though I am from the race of the Raghus." 

3 5 "O brahmin, tell me if it is Lavan the son of Madhu (the notorious asura) who disturbs the 
sacrificial rites. In that case also, I will not part with my son. 36 If it be the two sons of Sunda and 
Upasunda who disturb your sacrifice, terrible as they are like the sons of the sun, in that case also I 
will not give my son to you." 

37 "But after all, O brahmin, should you snatch him from me, then I am also dead and gone with him. I 
do not see any other chance of a lasting success of your devotion." 

3 8 Saying these gentle words, the descendant of Raghu was drowned in the sea of suspense with 
regard to the demand of the sage. Being unable to arrive at a conclusion, the great king was carried 
away by the current of his thoughts as one by the high waves of the sea. 

Chapter 9 — Vishwamitra's Anger & Vasishta's Advice 

I Valmiki said: — 

On hearing this speech of the king with his piteous look and eyes full of tears, Vishwamitra the son of 
Kausika became highly incensed and replied. 2 "You are about to break your promise after pledging 
yourself to its performance, and thus you wish to behave like a deer after having been a lion. 3 This is 
unbecoming of the race of Raghu. It is acting contrary to this great family. Hot rays must not proceed 
from the cool beamed moon. 4 If you are so weak, O king, let me return as I came. Live happily with 
your friends, you promise-breaking descendant of Kakustha." 

5 As the high spirited Vishwamitra moved with anger, the earth trembled under him and the gods were 
filled with fear. 6 Vasishta, the meek and wise, observant of his vows, knowing that anger influenced 
the great sage and friend of the world, spoke. 

7 "O king born of the race of the Ikshvakus, a form of virtue itself, and called Dasharata the fortunate, 
you are adorned with all the good qualities known in the three worlds. 8 You are famous for your 
meekness and strict adherence to your vows. You are renowned in all three worlds for your virtues 
and fame. You can not break your promise. 9 Preserve your virtue and think not to break your promise. 
Comply with the request of the sage who is honored in all the three worlds. 10 Having said you will 
do it, if you retract your promise, you lose the object of your yet unfulfilled desires. Therefore let 
Rama depart from you." 

I I "Descended from the race of Ikshvaku, and being Dasharata yourself, if you fail to perform your 
promise, who else on earth will ever keep his word? 12 It is the standard of conduct of great men like 
you, that makes even low people afraid to transgress the bounds of their duties. How then do you wish 
to violate it yourself?" 

13 "Guarded by this lion-like man (Vishwamitra), like ambrosia by fire, no rakshasa will have power 
to prevail over Rama, whether he be equipped and armed or not. l 4 Behold Vishwamitra is the 
personification of virtue, the mightiest of the mighty, and superior to all in the world in his 
intelligence and devotion to asceticism. 15 He is skilled in all warlike arms that are known in the three 
worlds. No other man knows them so well nor shall ever be able to master them like him. 16 Among 
the gods, sages, asuras, rakshasas, naagas, yakshas and gandharvas, there is none equal to him" 

17 "In days gone past when this son of Kaushika used to rule over his realm, he was furnished with all 
the arms by Krisaswa, and which no enemy can baffle. 18 These arms were the progeny of Krisaswa, 
and were equally radiant and powerful as the progeny of the Prajapati, and followed him (in his 
train). 19 Now Daksha had two beautiful daughters, Jaya and Supraja (alias Vijaya), who had a 
hundred offspring (as personifications of the implements), that are invincible in war. 20 Of these, the 
favored Jaya gave birth to fifty sons who are implacable agents of the destruction of asura forces. 21 In 
like manner, Supraja gave birth to fifty sons of very superior qualities, very powerful and terrible in 
their appearance, and indomitably aggressive. 2 2 Thus Vishwamitra is strengthened and grown 
powerful. He is acknowledged in the three worlds as a sage, you therefore must not think otherwise 
than to deliver Rama to him." 

23 "This mighty and virtuous man and prince of sages being near, anyone in his presence, even one at 
the point of death, is sure to attain his immortality. Therefore, be not disheartened like an unconscious 

Chapter 10 — The Melancholy of Rama 

1 Valmiki related: — 

After Vasishta finished speaking, King Dasharata was glad to send for Rama and his brother 
Lakshman, saying, 2 "Chamberlain, go and quickly bring here the truly mighty and long armed Rama 
with Lakshman, for the praiseworthy purpose of removing the impediments of religious acts." 

3 Thus sent by the king, the chamberlain went to the inner apartment. After some moments, he returned 
and informed the king, 4 "O sire! Rama, whose arms have crushed all his foes, remains rapt in 
thoughts in his room like a bee closed in a lotus at night. 5 He said that he is coming in a moment, but 
he is so lost in his lonely meditation that he likes nobody to be near him." 

6 Thus advised by the chamberlain, the king called one of Rama's attendants, and having given him 
every assurance, asked him to relate the particulars. 7 On being asked by the king how Rama had come 
to that state, the attendant replied in a sorrowful mood, 8 "Sir, we have also become as lean as sticks 
in our bodies, in sorrow for the fading away of your son Rama in his body. 9 The lotus-eyed Rama 
appears dejected ever since he has come back from his pilgrimage in company with the brahmins. 
10 When asked to perform his daily rites, he sometimes discharges them with a sad face, and at other 
times, he wholly dispenses with them. n He is adverse, O lord, to bathing, to worshipping the gods, to 
the distribution of alms, and to his meals also. Even when we troubled him to eat, he does not take his 
food with a good relish." 

12 "He no longer allows the playful harem girls to rock him in swinging cradles by, nor does he play 
under the showering fountains like in rainwater. 13 No ornaments beset with the bud-shaped rubies, no 
bracelets or necklace, O king, can please him now. In the same manner, those who expect their fall 
from heaven would be pleased by nothing in it." 

14 "He is sorrowful even while sitting in the tree gardens of vines, entertained by flowery breezes, 
and amidst the looks of maidens playing around him. 1 5 O king, he looks at whatever is good and 
sweet, elegant and pleasing to the soul with sorrowful eyes, like one whose eyes are already satisfied 
with viewing them heaped up in piles. 16 He would speak ill of the girls who would dance merrily 
before him, and exclaim out, 'Why should these ladies of the harem flutter about in this way causing 
grief in me?' 17 His doings are like those of a madman who takes no delight at his food or rest, his 
vehicles or seats, his baths and other pleasures, however excellent they may be." 

1 8 "As regards prosperity or adversity, his rooms or any other desirable thing, he says they are all 
unreal, and then he holds his silence. 1 9 He cannot be excited by pleasantry or tempted to taste 
pleasures. He attends to no business, but remains in silence. 20 No woman with her loosened locks 
and tresses and the tempting glances of her eyes can please him, any more than a playful fawn can 
please the trees in the forest. 2 1 Like a man sold to savages, he takes delight in lonely places, in 
remotest areas, in the banks of rivers and wild deserts." 

22 "O king, his aversion to clothing, conveyance, food and presents indicates that he is following the 
line of life led by wandering ascetics. 23 He lives alone in a lonely place and neither laughs nor sings 
nor cries aloud from a sense of his indifference to them 24 Seated in the lotus posture with folded 

legs, he stays with a distracted mind, reclining his cheek on his left palm. 25 He assumes no pride to 
himself and does not wish for the dignity of sovereignly. He is neither elated with joy nor depressed 
by grief or pain. 26 We do not know where he goes, what he does, what he desires, what he meditates 
upon, or from where or when he comes and what he follows." 

27 "He is getting lean every day, growing pale day by day. Like a tree at the end of autumn, he is 
becoming discolored day after day. 28 king, his brothers Satrughna and Lakshman follow all his 
habits and resemble his very shadow. 29 Repeatedly asked about his unsound mind by his servants, 
brother-princes and mothers, Rama says he has none, and then resumes his silence and detachment." 

30 "He lectures his companions and friends saying, 'Do not set your mind to sensual enjoyments which 
are only pleasing for the time being.' 31 He has no affection for the richly adorned women of the 
harem, but rather looks upon them as the cause of destruction presented before him. 32 He often sings 
in plaintive notes how his life is being spent in vain cares, estranged from those of the easily 
attainable state of heavenly bliss. 33 Should some courtier speak of his being an emperor one day, he 
smiles at him as upon a raving madman, and then remains silent as one distracted in his mind. 34 He 
does not pay heed to what is said to him, nor does he look at anything presented before him. He hates 
to look upon even the most charming of things. 35 'As it is imaginary and unreal to suppose the 
existence of an ethereal lake or a lotus growing in it, so it is false to believe the reality of the mind 
and its conceptions.' Saying so Rama marvels at nothing." 

36 "Even when sitting among beautiful maids, the darts of Kama Deva, the god of love, fail to pierce 
his impenetrable heart, like showers of rain cannot pierce a rock. 3 7 Rama makes his motto, 'No 
sensible man should ever wish for riches which are but the seats of dangers,' and he gives all that he 
has to beggars. 38 He sings some verses to this effect, that 'It is an error to call one thing prosperity 
and the other adversity when they are both only imaginations of the mind.' 39 He repeats some words 
to the effect that, 'Though it is the general cry, 'O I am gone, I am helpless grown,' yet it is a wonder, 
that nobody should take himself to utter detachment.'" 

40 "That Rama, the destroyer of enemies, the great oak grown in the garden of Raghu, should get into 
such a state of mind is what causes grief in us. 41 We do not know, O great armed and lotus-eyed king, 
what to do with him in this state of his mind. We hope only in you." 

42 "He laughs to scorn the counsels of the princes and brahmins before him, and spurns them as if they 
were fools. 43 He remains inactive with the conviction that the world which appears to our view is a 
vanity, and the idea of self is also a vanity. ^He has no respect for foes or friends, for himself or his 
kingdom, mother or riches, nor does he pay any regard to prosperity or adversity. 45 He is altogether 
quiet, without any desire or effort and devoid of a mainstay. He is neither captivated by anything nor 
freed from worldly thoughts. These are the reasons which afflict us most." 

46 "He says, 'What have we to do with riches, with our mothers, with this kingdom and all our 
activities?' Under these impressions, he is about to give up his life. 47 As the swallow grows restless 
when hurricanes obstruct the rains, so has Rama become impatient under the restraint of his father and 
mother, his friends and kingdom, his enjoyments and even his own life." 

48 "In compassion on your son, incline to root out this annoyance which like a harmful vine has been 

spreading its shoots. 49 For under such a disposition of his mind, and in spite of his possession of all 
affluence, he looks upon the enjoyments of the world as his poison. 50 Where is that powerful person 
on this earth who can restore him to proper conduct? 51 Who is there who will remove the errors that 
have caused grief in Rama's mind, like the sun removes the darkness of the world?" 

Chapter 11 — Consolation of Rama 

I Vishwamitra said, "If such is the case, you who are intelligent may go at once and persuade that 
progeny of Raghu to come here, as one deer does others. 2 This stupor of Rama is not caused by any 
accident or affection. I believe it is the development of that superior intellect which rises from the 
right reasoning of dispassionate men. 3 Let Rama come here for a while and in a moment we shall 
dispel his delusion, as wind drives away clouds from mountain tops." 

4 "After his mental dullness is removed by my reasoning, he will be able to rest in that happy state of 
mind to which we have arrived. 5 He shall not only attain pure truth and a clear understanding of 
uninterrupted tranquility, but he will also secure a plumpness and beauty of figure and complexion, as 
one derives from a potion of ambrosia. 6 He will then fully discharge the proper course of his duties 
with all his heart and without exception, which will redound to his honor. 7 He will become strong 
with a knowledge of both worlds, exempt from the states of pleasure and pain. Then he will look upon 
gold and stones with an indifferent eye." 

8 After the chief of the sages had spoken in this manner, the king resumed the firmness of his mind and 
sent messengers after messengers to bring Rama to him. 9 By this time Rama was preparing to rise 
from his seat in the palace to come over to his father, in the manner that the sun rises from the 
mountain in the east. l ° Surrounded by a few of his servants, he came with his two brothers to the 
hallowed hall of his father, resembling the heaven of the king of gods. 

I I From a distance he saw his kingly sire seated amidst the assemblage of princes, like Indra 
surrounded by the gods. l 2 He was accompanied on either side by the sages Vasishta and 
Vishwamitra, and respectfully attended by his staff of ministers, all well versed in the interpretation 
of all scriptures. 13 He was fanned by charming maidens waving fine flappers in their hands, equaling 
in beauty the goddesses presiding over the quarters of heaven. 14 Vasishta, Vishwamitra and the other 
sages, with Dasharata and his chiefs, saw Rama coming at a distance as beautiful as Skanda 
(Subramanyan) himself. 

15 His qualities of mildness and gravity made him resemble the Himalayas, and he was esteemed by 
all for the depth and clearness of his understanding. 1 6 He was handsome and well proportioned, 
auspicious in his look, but humble and magnanimous in his mind. With loveliness and mildness of his 
person, he was possessed of all manly prowess. 17 He was just developed to youth, yet he was as 
majestic as an elderly man. He was neither sad nor merry, but seemed to be fully satisfied with 
himself, as if he had obtained all the objects of his desires. 18 He was a good judge of the world, and 
possessed of all holy virtues. The purity of his mind attracted all the virtues that met in him 19 The 
receptacle of his mind was filled by magnanimity and honorable virtues, and the candor of his conduct 
showed him in the light of perfection. 20 Endowed with these various virtues and decorated by his 
necklace and fine apparel, Rama the support of Raghu' s race, approached with a smiling face. 

21 He bowed his head to his father with the sparkling jewels trembling in his locks, giving his head the 
graceful appearance of Mount Sumeru shaken by an earthquake. 22 The lotus-eyed Rama came up to 
salute the feet of his father, when the lord of the sages, Vishwamitra, was speaking with him 23 First 
of all Rama saluted his father, then the two honorable sages. Next he saluted the brahmins, then his 

relations, and lastly his elders and well wishing friends. 2 4 Then he received and returned the 
salutations of the chiefs and princes as they bowed to him with graceful motions of their heads and 
respectful addresses. 

25 Rama, of god-like beauty and equanimity of mind, approached the sacred presence of his father 
with the blessings of the two sages. 26 During the act of his saluting the feet of his father, the lord of 
the earth repeatedly kissed his head and face, and embraced him with fondness. 27 At the same time, 
Rama, the destroyer of his enemies, embraced his brothers Lakshman and Satrughna with an affection 
as intense as a swan embracing lotus flowers. 

28 "My son, be seated upon my lap," said the king to Rama who, however, took his seat on a fine 
piece of cloth spread on the floor by his servants. 29 The king then said, "O my son and receptacle of 
blessings, you have attained the age of discretion, so do not put yourself to that state of self- 
mortification as the dull-headed do from their crazy understandings. 30 Know that one attains merit by 
following the course of his elders, guides and brahmins, and not by his persistence in error. 31 So long 
as we do not allow the seeds of error to have access to us, so long will the train of our misfortunes lie 
at a distance." 

32 Vasishta said, "O strong armed prince, you are truly heroic to have conquered your worldly 
appetites, which are as difficult to eradicate as they are fierce in their action. 33 Why do you allow 
yourself, like the unlearned, to be drowned in this rolling sea of errors causing such dull inactivity in 

3 4 Vishwamitra said, "Why are your eyes so unsteady with doubts like trembling clusters of blue 
lotuses? You ought to do away with this unsteadiness and tell us what is the sadness in your mind. 
35 What are these thoughts? What are their names and natures, their number and causes, that infest your 
mind like mice undermine a fabric? 36 1 am disposed to think that you are not the person to be troubled 
with those evils and distempers to which the base and vile alone are subject. 37 Tell me the craving of 
your heart, O sinless Rama! They will be requited in a manner that will prevent them from 
reoccurring to you." 

38 Rama, the standard of Raghu's race, having listened to the reasonable and graceful speech of the 
good-intentioned sage, shook off his sorrow, like a peacock at the roaring of a cloud, in the hope of 
gaining his object. 

Chapter 12 — Rama's Reply 

1 Valmiki related: — 

Being thus asked by the chief of the sages with soothing words, Rama answered in a soft and graceful 
speech replete with good sense. 2 "O venerable sage, untutored though I am, I will tell you in truth all 
the particulars as you asked. For who would disobey the bidding of the wise?" 

Rama speaking: — 

3 Since I was born in this my father's palace, I have remained here, grown up, and received my 
education. 4 Then, O leader of sages, desiring to learn good customs, I set out to travel to holy places 
all over this sea- surrounded earth. 5 By this time, a series of reflections arose in my mind that shook 
my confidence in worldly objects. 6 1 employed my mind to discriminate the nature of things, which 
gradually led me to discard all thoughts of sensual enjoyments. 

7 What are worldly pleasures good for, and why do men multiply on earth? Men are born to die, and 
they die to be born again. 8 There is no stability in the tendencies of beings whether movable or 
immovable. They all tend to vice, decay and danger, and all our possessions become the grounds of 
our poverty. 

9 All objects of sense are detached from each other like iron rods from one another. It is only 
imagination which attaches them to our minds. 10 It is the mind that pictures the existence of the world 
as a reality, but if we know the deceptiveness of the mind, we are safe from such deception. n If the 
world is an unreality, it is a pity that ignorant men should be allured by it, like deer tempted by a 
distant mirage of water. 12 We are sold by none, yet we are enslaved to the world. Knowing this well, 
we are spell-bound with riches, as if by the magic wand of Sambara. 13 What are the enjoyments in 
this essence but misery? Yet we are foolishly caught in its thoughts, like bees caught in honey. 

14 Ah! After long, I perceive that we have insensibly fallen into errors, like senseless stags falling into 
caverns in the wilderness. 15 Of what use is royally and these enjoyments to me? What am I and where 
do all these things come from? They are only vanities. Let them continue as such without any good or 
loss to anybody. 16 Reasoning in this manner, O holy brahmin, I came to be disgusted with the world, 
like a traveler in a desert. 

1 7 Now tell me, O venerable sir, is this world is advancing to its dissolution, or continued 
reproduction, or is it in endless progression? 18 If there is any progress here, is it the appearance and 
disappearance by turns of old age and decease, and of prosperity and adversity? 1 9 See how the 
variety of our trifling enjoyments hastens our decay. They are like hurricanes shattering trees in the 
mountains. 20 Men continue in vain to breathe their vital breath like hollow bamboo wind-pipes 
having no sense. 21 The thought that consumes me like wildfire in the hollow of a withered tree is, 
"How is misery to be alleviated?" 

22 The weight of worldly miseries sits heavy on my heart like a rock and obstructs the breathing of my 
lungs. I have a mind to weep, but I am prevented from shedding tears for fear of my people. 23 My 
tearless weeping and speechless mouth give no indication to anybody of my inner sorrow. My 
consciousness is silent witness to my solitude. 24 1 wait to think on the positive and negative states, as 

a ruined man bewails to reflect on his former state of affluence. 25 1 take prosperity to be a seducing 
cheat, for it deludes the mind, impairs good qualities, and spreads the net of our miseries. 26 To me, 
like one fallen into great difficulties, no riches, offspring, consorts or home affords any delight, but 
they seem to be misery. 

27 Like a wild elephant in chains, I find no rest in my mind reflecting on the various evils of the world, 
and thinking on the causes of our frailties. 28 There are wicked passions prying at all times, under the 
dark mist of the night of our ignorance. There are hundreds of objects which, like so many cunning 
rogues, are about all men in broad daylight, lurking on all sides to rob us of our reason. What mighty 
champions can we delegate to fight with these other than our own knowledge of truth? 

Chapter 13 — Denunciation of Wealth 

I Rama said: — 

sage, here wealth is reckoned a blessing, yet she is the cause of our troubles and errors. 2 She bears 
away like a river in the rainy season. All high-spirited simpletons are overpowered by her current. 
3 Her daughters are anxieties fostered by many a bad deed, like the waves of a stream raised by 
winds. 4 She can never stand steady on her legs anywhere, but like a wretched woman who has burnt 
her feet, she limps from one place to another. 

5 Wealth like a lamp both burns and blackens its owner, until it is extinguished by its own flame. 6 She 
is unapproachable like princes and fools, and likewise as favorable as they to her adherents, without 
scanning their merits or faults. 7 She begets only evils in them by their various acts, as good milk 
when given to serpents serves to increase the strength of their poison. 

8 Men are gentle and kind hearted to friends and strangers, until their hearts are hardened by their 
riches, which like blasts of wind serve to stiffen frost. 9 As brilliant gems are soiled by dust, so are 
the learned, the brave, the grateful, the mild and the gentle corrupted by riches. 10 Riches do not lead 
to happiness but redound to sorrow and destruction, as the plant aconite when nourished hides fatal 
poison in itself. 

II A rich man without blemish, a brave man devoid of vanity, and a master lacking partiality are the 
three rarities on earth. 1 2 The rich are as inaccessible as the dark cave of a huge serpent, and as 
unapproachable as the deep wilderness of Vmdhya Mountain inhabited by fierce elephants. 13 Riches, 
like the shadow of night, overcast the good qualities of men, and like moonlight, bring to bloom the 
buds of their misery. Like a hurricane, they blow away the brightness of a fair prospect. Riches 
resemble a sea with huge surges. 14 They bring a cloud of fear and error upon us, increase the poison 
of despondence and regret, and are like dreadful snakes in the field of our choice. 

1 5 Fortune is a frost to those who are bound to asceticism, and is like the night to the owls of 
libertinism. She is an eclipse to the moonlight of reason, and like moonbeams to the bloom of the 
lilies of folly. 16 She is as transitory as the rainbow, and as pleasant to see by the play of her colors. 
She is as fickle as lightening which vanishes as quickly as it appears. Hence none but the ignorant 
have reliance on her. 17 She is as unsteady as a well born maiden following a base born man to the 
woods. She is like a mirage that tempts runaways to fall to it as the doe. 18 Unsteady as a wave, she is 
never steady in any place, like the flickering flame of a lamp. So her leaning is known to nobody. 
19 She, like the lioness, is ever quick to fight, and like the leader of elephants, she is favorable to her 
partisans. She is as sharp as the blade of a sword, and she is the patroness of sharp-witted sharpsters. 

20 1 see no joy in uncivil prosperity, which is full of treachery and replete with every kind of danger 
and trouble. 21 It is pity that prosperity is like a shameless wench who will again lay hold of a man 
who has abandoned her for her rival poverty. 22 What is she, with all her loveliness and attraction of 
human hearts, but a momentary thing obtained by all manner of evil means, and resembling at best a 
flower shrub growing out of a cave inhabited by a snake, and beset by reptiles all about its stem? 

Chapter 14 — Denunciation of Human Life 

Rama speaking: — 

1 Human life is as frail as a drop of water trembling on the tip of a leaflet. Life breaking loose from its 
bodily imprisonment out of its proper season is as irrepressible as a raving madman. 2 The lives of 
those whose minds are infected by the poison of worldly affairs, and who are incapable of judging for 
themselves, are only causes for their torment. 

3 Those knowing the knowable, and resting in the all-pervading spirit, and acquiescing alike to their 
wants and gains, enjoy lives of perfect tranquility. 4 We who have a certain belief that we are only 
limited beings can have no enjoyment in our transient lives, which are only flashes of lightning in the 
cloudy sky of the world. 5 It is as impossible to confine the winds or tear the sky to pieces or wreathe 
waves into a garland as it is to place any reliance upon our lives. 6 Fast as the fleeting clouds in 
autumn, and short as the light of lamp without oil, our lives appear to pass away as impermanent as 
rolling waves in the sea. 7 Rather attempt to lay hold of the moon's shadow on the waves, or the 
fleeting lightening in the sky, or the ideal lotus blossoms in the ether, than ever place any reliance 
upon this unsteady life. 8 Men of restless minds, desiring to prolong their useless and toilsome lives, 
resemble the barren she-mule conceived by a horse. 

9 This world (samsara) is as a whirlpool in the ocean of creation, and every individual body is as 
impermanent as foam, froth or a bubble, which can give me no relish in this life. 10 True living is gain 
which is worth gaining, which has no cause of sorrow or remorse, and which is a state of 
transcendental tranquility. n There is a vegetable life in plants, and an animal life in beasts and birds. 
Man leads a thinking life, but true life is above thoughts. 12 All those living beings who being born 
here once do not return are said to have lived well in this earth. The rest are no belter than old asses. 

13 Knowledge is a burden to the unthinking, and wisdom is burdensome to the passionate. Intellect is a 
heavy load to the restless, and the body is a ponderous burden to one ignorant of his soul. 14 A good 
person possessed of life, mind, intellect and self-consciousness and its occupations, is of no benefit to 
the unwise, but seem to weigh down on the unwise as if he were a porter. 15 The discontented mind is 
the great arena of all evils, and the nesting place of diseases which alight upon it like birds of the air. 
Such a life is the abode of toil and misery. 

16 As a house is slowly dilapidated by the mice continually burrowing under it, so is the body of the 
living gradually corroded by the teeth of time boring within it. 1 7 Deadly diseases breed within the 
body, feed upon our vital breath, like poisonous snakes born in caves of the woods consume the 
meadow air. 18 As the withered tree is perforated by small worms residing in them, so our bodies are 
continually wasted by many inborn diseases and harmful secretions. 19 Death is constantly staring and 
growling at our face, as a cat looks and purrs at a mouse in order to devour it. 20 Old age wastes us as 
soon as a glutton digests his food, and it reduces one to weakness as an old harlot left with no charm 
other than her make-up and perfumes. 

21 Youth forsakes us as soon as a good man who, after a few days learns of his wicked friend's faults, 
abandons him in disgust. 22 Death, the lover of destruction and friend of old age and ruin, likes the 
sensual man, as a lecher likes a beauty. 

23 Thus there is nothing so worthless in the world as this life, which is devoid of every good quality 
and ever subject to death, unless it is attended by the permanent joy of liberation. 

Chapter 15 — Denunciation of Ego 

1 Rama continued: — 

Egoism springs from false conceit fostered by vanity. I am much afraid of this enemy, baneful egotism. 

2 All men in this diversified world, even the very poorest of them, fall into the dungeon of evils and 
misdeeds under the influence of ego. 3 All accidents, anxieties, troubles and wicked exertions proceed 
from ego and self-confidence. Hence I deem ego to be like a disease. 

4 Being subject to that everlasting arch-enemy, the cynic ego, I have refrained from food and drink. 
What other enjoyment is there for me to partake? 5 This world resembles a long continuous night in 
which our ego, like a hunter, spreads the snare of affections. 6 All our great and intolerable miseries, 
growing as rank as thorny acacia plants, are only the results of our ego. 7 It overcasts the equanimity 
of mind like an eclipse shadows the moon. It destroys our virtues like frost destroys lotus flowers. It 
dispels the peace of men as autumn drives away the clouds. Therefore, I must get rid of this egoistic 

8 I am not Rama the prince. I have no desire, nor should I wish for wealth, but I wish to have the 
peace of my mind and remain like the self-satisfied old sage Jina. 9 All that I have eaten, done or 
offered in sacrifice under the influence of ego have gone for nothing. The absence of ego is the real 
good. 10 So long, O brahmin, as there is ego, he is subject to sorrow at his difficulties. If he is devoid 
of it, he becomes happy. Hence it is better to be without it. n I am free from anxiety, O sage, ever 
since I have come to know the impermanence of all enjoyments, gave up my sense of egoism, and 
attained tranquility of my mind. 

12 As long, O brahmin, as the cloud of egoism covers our minds, our desires expand themselves like 
kurchi plant buds in rain. 13 But when the cloud of egoism is dispersed, the lightning of greed vanishes 
away, just like when a lamp is extinguished, its light immediately disappears. 14 The mind vaunts with 
ego, like a furious elephant in the Vindhyan Hills when it hears thunder in the clouds. 15 Ego is like a 
lion, living in the vast forest of all human bodies, who ranges about at large throughout the whole 
extent of this earth. 

16 The self-conceited are decorated with a string of pearls about their necks, of which greed forms the 
thread and repeated births are the pearls. 17 Our hostile enemy ego, like a magician, has spread about 
us the enchantments of our wives, friends and children, whose spells it is hard to break. 18 As soon as 
the impression of the word ego is effaced from the mind, all our anxieties and troubles are wiped out 
of it. 19 The cloud of ego being dispelled from the sky of our minds, the mist of error which it spreads 
to destroy our peace will also disperse. 

20 1 have given up my ego, yet my mind remains stupefied with sorrow from my ignorance. Tell me, O 
brahmin, what do you think is right for me under these circumstances? 21 1 have given up this egoism 
with much trouble, and I would like to not depend upon this source of all evil and worry any more. It 
retains its seat in the breast only to annoy me, without benefiting me by any good quality of its own. 
Direct me now, you men of great understandings! 

Chapter 16 — 
The Inability to Control the Mind 

Rama speaking: — 

1 Our minds are infested with evil passions and faults, and fluctuate in their observance of duty and 
service to superiors, like the plumes of a peacock fluttering in a breeze. 2 Minds eagerly and 
restlessly rove about at random from one place to another, like a poor village dog running far and 
wide in search of food. 3 It seldom finds anything anywhere, and happening even to get a good store 
somewhere, it is as little content with it as a wicker vessel filled with water. 

4 The vacant mind, O sage, is ever entrapped in its evil desires. It is never at rest with itself, but 
roams at large like a stray deer separated from its herd. 5 The human mind, as light as the minutest 
particle, is like an unsteady wave. Therefore it can have no rest in spite of its nature. 6 Disturbed by 
its thoughts, the mind is tossed in all directions, like the waters of the milk-white ocean when churned 
by Mandara Mountain. 7 I can not curb my mind, resembling the vast ocean in its course, subject to 
huge surges of passions, with whirlpools of error, and beset by the whales of delusion. 

8 O brahmin, our minds run afar after sensual enjoyments, like deer running towards tender blades of 
grass, unmindful of falling into hidden traps. 9 The mind can never get rid of its wavering state owing 
to its nature of habitual fickleness, resembling the restlessness of the sea. 10 The mind with its natural 
fickleness and restless thoughts finds no repose at any place, like a lion in his cage. 1 1 The mind 
seated in the car of delusion absorbs the sweet, peaceful and undisturbed rest of the body, like a swan 
sucking up pure milk from amidst the water. 

1 2 O chief of sages, I grieve much to find the faculties of the mind lying asleep upon a bed of 
imaginary delights, from which they are hard to awaken. 13 O brahmin, like a bird in a net, I am caught 
by the knots of my ego, and held fast by the thread of my greed. 14 Like dried hay on fire, the flame of 
my anxieties burns in my mind under the spreading fumes of my impatience. 1 5 Like a clod of cold 
meat, I am devoured by the cruelty and greed of my heart, like a carcass swallowed by a hungry dog 
and its greedy mate. 

1 6 1 am carried away, O sage, by the current of my heart, like a tree on the bank carried away by 
waters and waves beating upon it. 17 1 am led afar by my mind, like straw carried off by a hurricane, 
either to flutter in the air or fall upon the ground. 18 My earthly mindedness has put a stop to my desire 
of crossing over the ocean of the world, as an embankment stops the course of a stream. l 9 The 
baseness of my heart lifts me up and lets me down like a log of wood tied to a rope and dragged in 
and out of a well. 

20 As a child is seized when his imagination thinks he sees a demon, so I find myself in the grasp of 
my wicked mind, representing falsities as true. 21 It is hard to repress the mind, which is hotter than 
fire, more inaccessible than a hill, and stronger than a thunderbolt. 22 The mind is attracted to its 
objects like a bird to its prey. It has not even a moment's respite, like a boy and his play. 23 My mind 
resembles the sea both in its dullness and its restlessness, and in its extent and fullness with 
whirlpools and dragons that keep me from advancing. 

24 It is more difficult to subdue the mind than to drink the ocean or upset Sumeru Mountain. It is harder 
than the hardest thing. 25 The mind is the cause of all exertions, and the source of all that senses the 
three worlds. Its weakness weakens all worldliness, and requires to be cured with care. 

26 Our pains and pleasures arise by the hundreds from the mind, like woods growing in groups upon a 
hill, but no sooner is the scythe of reason applied to them, than they fall off one by one. 27 1 am ready 
to subdue my mind, my greatest enemy in this world, for the purpose of mastering all the virtues, 
which the learned say depend upon it. My lack of desires has made me adverse to wealth and the 
gross pleasures it yields, which are like the tints of clouds tainting the moon. 

Chapter 17 — Rama on Greed 

Rama speaking: — 

1 I see our vices like a flock of owls flying in the region of our minds, under the darkness of our 
affections, and in the longsome night of our greed. 2 1 am parched by my anxieties like wet clay under 
the sun, infusing an inner heat by extracting its soft moisture. 3 My mind is like a vast and lonesome 
wilderness, covered under the mist of errors, and infested by the terrible fiend of desire that is 
continually floundering about it. 4 My wailings and tears serve only to expand and mature my anxiety, 
as the dews of night open and ripen the blossoms of beans and give them a bright golden color. 

5 Greed by raising expectations in men, serves only to whirl them about, like a vortex of the sea 
swallows marine animals. 6 The stream of worldly greed flows like a rapid current within the rock of 
my body, with precipitate force and loud resounding waves. 7 Our minds are driven by foul greed 
from one place to another, as dusty dry hay is carried away by winds, and as moisture loving chataka 
cuckoos are impelled by thirst to fly about. 

8 It is greed that destroys all the good qualities and grace that we have learned in good faith, just like 
a mischievous mouse gnaws the strings of a musical instrument. 9 We turn on the wheel of our cares, 
like withered leaves upon water, like dry grass blown by wind, and like autumn clouds in the sky. 
10 Being over powered by greed, we are unable to reach the goal of perfection, like a bird entangled 
in a snare is kept from flight. 

11 1 am so greatly burnt by the flame of greed that I doubt whether this inflammation may be relieved 
even by administration of nectar. 12 Like a heated mare, greed takes me far and farther still from my 
place, and brings me back to it again and again. Thus it hurries me up and down and to and fro in all 
directions forever. 

13 The rope of greed pulls us up and cast us down again like a bucket into a well. 14 Man's greed 
leads him about like a bullock of burden. His avarice bends his heart as fast as the rope does the 
beast, and it is hard for him to break. 1 5 As the hunter spreads his net to catch birds, so does our 
affection for friends, wives and children stretch snares to entrap us every day. 1 6 Greed like a dark 
night terrifies even the wise, blindfolds the keen-sighted, and depresses the spirit of the happiest of 
men. 17 Our appetite is as heinous as a serpent, soft to feel, but full of deadly poison, and bites us as 
soon as it is felt. 18 It is also like a black sorceress who deludes men by her magic, then pierces him 
in his heart to expose him to danger afterwards. 

19 This body of ours, shattered by our greed, is like a worn out lute, fastened by arteries resembling 
strings, but emitting no pleasing sound. 20 Our greed is like the long fibered, dark and juicy poisonous 
vine called kaduka that grows in mountain caves and maddens men by its flavor. 21 Greed is as vain, 
empty, fruitless, aspiring, unpleasant and perilous as a dry twig of a tree that bears no fruit or flower, 
but is hurtful with its prickly point. 

22 Venality is like a mean old woman, who from the incontinence of her heart, courts the company of 
every man without gaining the object of her desire. 23 Greed is an old actress who plays her various 
parts in the vast theatre of world in order to please the different tastes of her audience. 24 Parsimony 

is like a poisonous plant growing in the wide wilderness of the world, bearing old age and infirmity 
as its flowers, and producing our troubles as its fruits. 25 Our churlishness resembles an aged actress 
who attempts a manly feat she has not the strength to perform, yet keeps up the dance without pleasing 

26 Our fleeting thoughts are as fickle as peacocks soaring over inaccessible heights under the clouds 
(of ignorance), but ceasing to fly in the daylight (of reason). 27 Greed is like a river during the rains, 
rising for a time with its rolling waves, and afterwards lying low in its empty bed. 28 Greed is as 
inconstant as a female bird that changes her mates at times, and quits the tree that no longer bears fruit. 

29 The greedy are as unsteady as a springing monkey that never rests at any place but moves to places 
impassable by others, and craves for fruit even when satisfied. 

30 The acts of greed are as inconstant as those of chance, both of which are ever on the alert, but never 
attended with their sequence. 3 1 Our venality is like a black bee sitting on the lotus of our hearts 
where it buzzes above, below and all about. 

32 Of all worldly evils, greed is the source of the longest sorrow. She exposes even the most secluded 
man to peril. 33 Greed, like a group of clouds, is filled with a thick mist of error obstructing the light 
of heaven and causing a dull insensitivity. 3 4 Penury, which seems to gird the breasts of worldly 
people with chains of gems and jewels, binds them like beasts with halters about their necks. 

35 Covetousness stretches itself long and wide and presents to us a variety of colors like a rainbow. It 
is equally unsubstantial and without any property as the iris, resting in vapor and vacuum and being 
only a shadow itself. 36 It burns away our good qualities as fire does dry hay. It numbs our good sense 
as frost freezes the lotus. It grows our evils as autumn does the grass. It increases our ignorance as 
winter prolongs the night. 

37 Greediness is as an actress on the stage of the world. She is like a bird flying out of the nest of our 
houses, like a deer running about in the desert of our hearts, and like a lute making us sing and dance 
at its rune. 

38 Our desires like great waves toss us about in the ocean of our earthly cares. They bind us fast to 
delusion like chains bind an elephant. Like the banyan tree, they produce the roots of our regeneration, 
and like moonbeams they put our budding sorrows to bloom. 39 Greed is a jewel-encrusted box filled 
with misery, decrepitude, death, disorder and disasters like a mad drunken dance. 

40 Our wishes are sometimes as pure as light and at other times as foul as darkness; now they are as 
clear as the milky way, and again as obscure as thickest mists. 41 All our bodily troubles are avoided 
by abstaining from greed, just as we are freed from fear of night demons at the dispersion of darkness. 
42 As long as men remain in dumbness and mental delirium, they are subject to the poisonous colic of 
greed. 43 Men may get rid of their misery by freeing themselves from anxieties. The abandonment of 
cares is said to be the best remedy for greed. 

44 As fish in a pond fondly grasp bait in expectation of a morsel, so the avaricious lay hold on 
anything, be it wood or stone or even a bit of straw. 45 Greed like an acute pain excites even the 
gravest of men to motion, just like the sunshine raises lotus blossoms above water. 46 It is comparable 
to bamboo in its length, hollowness, hard knots, and thorny prickles, and yet it is entertained with 

hopes that it might yield manna and pearls. 

47 It is a wonder that high-minded men have been able to cut off this almost un-severable knot of greed 
by the glittering sword of reason, 48 because neither the edge of a sword, nor the fire of lightening, nor 
the sparks of a red-hot iron are sharp enough to sever the keen greed seated in our hearts. 49 It is like 
the flame of a lamp which is bright but blackening and acutely burning at its end. Fed by the oily 
wicks, it is vivid but never handled by anybody. 

50 Penury has the power of demeaning, in a moment, the best of men to the baseness of straw in spite 
of their wisdom, heroism and gravity in other respects. 51 Greed is like the great valley of the Vindhya 
Hills, beset with deserts and impenetrable forests, terrible and full of traps laid by the hunters, filled 
with dust and mist. 52 One single greed has everything in the world for its object, and though seated in 
the breast, it is imperceptible to all. It is like the undulating Milky Ocean in this fluctuating world, 
sweeping all things yet regaling mankind with its odorous waves. 

Chapter 18 — Denunciation of the Body 

Rama speaking: — 

1 This body of ours that struts about on earth is only a mass of humid entrails and tendons, tending to 
decay and disease, and to our torment alone. 2 It is neither quiescent nor wholly sentient, neither 
ignorant nor quite intelligent. Its inherent soul is a wonder, and reason makes it graceful or otherwise. 
3 The skeptic is doubtful of its inertness and exercise of intellect, and unreasonable and ignorant 
people are ever subject to error and illusion. 4 The body is as easily gratified with a little as it is 
exhausted in an instant. Hence there is nothing so pitiable, abject and worthless as our bodies. 

5 The face is as frail as a fading flower. Now it shoots forth its teeth like filaments, and now it dresses 
itself with blooming and blushing smiles as blossoms. 6 The body is like a tree. Its arms resemble the 
branches, the shoulder-blades like stems, the teeth are rows of birds, the eye-holes like its hollows, 
and the head is like a big fruit. 7 The ears are like two woodpeckers. The fingers of both hands and 
feet are like so many leaves of the branches. The diseases are like parasitic plants, and the acts of the 
body are like axes felling this tree, which is the seat of the two birds: the soul and intelligence. 

8 This shady tree of the body is only the temporary resort of a passing soul, whether it be related or 
unrelated to anybody, or whether reliable or not. 9 What man is there, O venerable fathers, who would 
stoop to reflect that each body is repeatedly assumed only to serve as a boat to pass over the sea of 
the world? l ° Who can rely on his body with any confidence, a body like a forest full of holes 
abounding in hairs that resemble trees? n The body composed of flesh, nerves and bones resembles a 
drum without any musical sound, yet I sit watching it like a cat. 12 Our bodies are like trees growing in 
the forest of the world, bearing the flowers of anxiety and perforated by the worms of sorrow and 
misery, ridden by the apish mind. 13 The body with its smiling face appears like a good plant bearing 
both good and bad fruit, but it has become home for the snake of greed and the crows of anger. 14 Our 
arms are like the branches of trees, and our open palms like beautiful clusters of flowers. The other 
limbs are like twigs and leaves continually shaken by the breath of life. 15 The two legs are the erect 
stems and the organs are the seats of the birds of sense. Its youthful bloom is a shade for the passing 
traveler of love. 

16 The hanging hairs of the head resemble long grass growing on the tree, and egoism, like a vulture, 
cracks the ear with its hideous shrieks. 17 Our various desires are like the hanging roots and fibers of 
a fig tree that seem to support the trunk of its body, but is worn out by labor to become unpleasant. 

18 The body is the big home of its owner's ego, and therefore it is of no interest to me whether it lasts 
or falls. 

1 9 This body, linked with its limbs like beasts of burden to labor, the home of its mistress greed 
painted over by her passions, affords me no delight whatever. 20 This abode of the body, built with its 
framework of backbone and ribs and composed of cellular vessels tied together by ropes of the 
entrails, is no way desirable to me. 2 1 This mansion of the body, tied with strings of tendons, built 
with the clay of blood and moisture, and plastered white with old age is no way suited to my liking. 
22 The mind is the architect and master of this bodily dwelling, and our activities are its supports and 
servants. It is filled with errors and delusions which I do not like. 23 1 do not like this dwelling of the 

body with its bed of pleasure on one side, and its childlike cries of pain on the other, and where our 
evil desires work like its shouting handmaids. 

24 1 cannot like this body. It is like a pot of filth, full of the foulness of worldly affairs, and moldering 
under the rust of our ignorance. 25 It is a hovel standing on the two props of our heels, supported by 
the two posts of our legs. 26 It is no lovely house where the external organs are playing their parts, 
while its mistress understanding sits inside with her brood of anxieties. 27 It is a hut thatched over 
with the hairs on the head, decorated with the turrets of the ears, and adorned with jewels on the crest, 
which I do not like. 

28 This house of the body is walled about by all its members, and beset by hairs growing on it like 
ears of grain. It has an empty space of the belly within which I do not like. 29 This body with its nails 
as those of spiders, and its entrails growling within like barking dogs, and the internal winds emitting 
fearful sounds, is never delightsome to me. 3 ° What is this body but a passage for the ceaseless 
inhaling and breathing out of the vital air? Its eyes are like two windows continually opened and 
closed by the eyelids. I do not like a mansion such as this. 3 1 This mansion of the body, with its 
formidable door of the mouth and ever-moving bolt of the tongue and bars of the teeth, is not pleasant 
to me. 

32 This house of the body, having the whitewash of ointments on the outer skin and the machinery of 
the limbs in continuous motion, its restless mind burrowing its base like a mischievous mouse, is not 
liked by me. 33 Sweet smiles, like shining lamps, serve to lighten this house of the body for a moment, 
but it is soon darkened by a cloud of melancholy, wherefore I cannot be pleased with it. 34 This body, 
the abode of diseases and subject to wrinkles and decay and all kinds of pain, is a mansion with 
which I am not pleased. 3 5 1 do not like this wilderness of the body, infested by the bears of the 
senses. It is empty and hollow within, with dark groves of entrails inside. 

36 1 am unable, O chief of sages, to drag my domicile of the body, just as a weak elephant is incapable 
of pulling another that is stuck in a muddy pit. 37 Of what good is affluence or royalty, this body and 
all its efforts to a person when the hand of time must destroy them all in a few days? 

38 Tell me, O sage, what is charming in this body that is only a composition of flesh and blood both 
within and without and frail in its nature? 39 The body does not follow the soul upon death. Tell me 
sage, what regard should the learned have for such an ungrateful thing as this? 40 It is as unsteady as 
the ears of an enraged elephant, and as fickle as drops of water that trickle on their tips. I should like 
therefore to abandon it before it comes to abandon me. 

4 1 It is as tremulous as the leaves of a tree shaken by a breeze, and oppressed by diseases and 
fluctuations of pleasure and pain. I have no relish in its pungency and bitterness. 42 With all its food 
and drink for evermore, it is as tender as a leaflet and it is reduced to leanness in spite of all our 
cares, and runs fast towards its dissolution. 43 It is repeatedly subjected to pleasure and pain, and to 
the succession of affluence and destitution, without being ashamed of itself as the shameless vulgar 
herd. 44 Why nourish this body any longer when, after its enjoyment of prosperity and exercise of 
authority for a length of time, it acquires no excellence nor durability? 

45 The bodies of the rich and the poor are alike subject to decay and death at their appointed times. 

46 The body lies like a tortoise in the cave of greed amidst the ocean of the world. It remains there in 
the mud in a mute and torpid state without any effort for its liberation. 47 Our bodies float like heaps 
of wood on the waves of the world, finally serving as fuel for a funeral fire — except a few which 
pass for human bodies in the sight of the wise. 

48 The wise have little to do with this tree of the body, which is beset by evils like harmful orchids 
about it, and produces the fruit of perdition. 4 9 The body, like a frog, lies merged in the mire of 
mortality where it perishes no sooner it is known to have lived and gone. 50 Our bodies are as empty 
and fleeting as gusts of wind passing over dusty ground. Nobody knows from where they come or 
where they go. 51 We know not the travels of our bodies, as we do not know those of the winds, light 
and our thoughts. They all come and go, but from where and to where, we know nothing. 52 Fie and 
shame to them who are so giddy with the intoxication of their error that they rely on any state or 
durability of their bodies. 

53 They are the best of men, O sage, whose minds are at rest with the thought that their ego does not 
exist in their bodies, and that in the end the bodies are not theirs. 

54 Those mistaken men who have a high sense of honor and fear dishonor, but who take pleasure in the 
excess of their gains, are truly killers of both of their bodies and souls. 55 We are deceived by the 
delusion of ego, which like a female evil spirit lies hidden within the cavity of the body with all her 
sorcery. 56 Unaided, our reason is kept in bondage by the malicious fiend of false knowledge, like a 
slave within the prison of our bodies. 57 It is certain that whatever we see here is unreal, and yet it is 
a wonder that the mass of men are led to deception by the vile body, which has injured the cause of 
the soul. 

58 Our bodies are as fleeting as the drops of a waterfall. They fall off in a few days like the withered 
leaves of trees. 59 They are as quickly dissolved as bubbles in the ocean. Therefore it is in vain for it 
to hurl about in the whirlpool of business. 60 I have not a moment's reliance in this body, which is 
ever hastening to decay, and I regard its changeful delusions as a state of dreaming. 61 Let those who 
have any faith in the stability of lightning, autumn clouds and ice castles place their reliance in this 

62 In its instability and ability to perish, the body has outdone all other things that are doomed to 
destruction. It is moreover subject to very many evils. Therefore I value it as nothing, like straw, and 
thereby I have obtained my rest. 

Chapter 19 — Blemishes of Boyhood 

Rama speaking: — 

1 One receiving his birth in the unstable ocean of this world, disturbed by the waves of the turmoil of 
business, has to pass his boyhood in sufferings only. 

2 The attendants of infancy are a lack of strength and sense, diseases, dangers, muteness and sensual 
desires, joined with longings and helplessness. 3 Childhood is chained to fretting, crying, fits of anger, 
craving and every kind of incapacity, like an elephant chained to a post. 4 The vexations that tease the 
infant breast are far greater than those which trouble us in youth and old age, or disturb one in 
disease, danger or at the approach of death. 5 The acts of a boy are like those of young animals, 
always restless and snubbed by everybody. Hence boyhood is more intolerable than death itself. 

6 How can boyhood be pleasing to anybody, when it is a semblance of gross ignorance, full of whims 
and hobbies, and ever subject to improper behavior? 7 Silly boyhood is in constant dread of dangers 
arising at every step from fire, water and air which rarely cause problems in other states of life. 

8 Children are liable to very many errors in their plays and wicked frolics, and in all their wishes and 
attempts beyond their capacities. Therefore, boyhood is the most dangerous stage of life. 

9 Children are engaged in false pursuits and wicked sports, and are subject to all other foolish 
childishness. Hence boyhood is fit for the rod and not for rest. l °A11 faults, misconduct, 
transgressions and heartaches lie hidden in boyhood like owls in hollow caves. n Shame on those 
ignorant and foolish people who are falsely led to imagine boyhood as the most pleasant period of 

12 How can boyhood appear pleasing to anyone when the mind swings like a cradle towards every 
object of desire, however wrong it is deemed to be in both worlds? 13 The minds of all living beings 
are ever restless, but those of young people are ten times more at unrest. 14 The mind is naturally 
unsteady, and so is boyhood. Say what can save us from that state of life when both these vagrant 
things combine to our destruction? 15 The glances of women, the flashes of lightning, the flame of fire, 
and the ever-rolling waves have all imitated the fickleness of boyhood. 

16 Minority seems to be a twin brother to the mind. They are similar in their unsteadiness and frailty of 
all their purposes. 17 All kinds of miseries, misdeeds and improper behavior await on boyhood, as all 
sorts of men hang upon the rich. 18 Children are always fond of new things, and when they fail to get 
them, they fall to a fainting fit, as if from the effect of poison. 

19 A boy like a dog, is as easily tamed as he is irritated at a little, and he is as glad to lie in the dust 
and play with dirt. 20 A foolish fretful boy with his body daubed in mire, tears in his eyes, appears 
like a heap of dry clay soiled by a shower of rain. 

21 Children are subject to fear and voracious appetites. They are helpless but fond of everything they 
have seen or heard, and equally fickle in their bodies and mind. Hence boyhood is a source of only 
troubles. 22 The foolish and helpless child becomes sad and sour when he fails to get the object of his 
fancy and thwarted from the thing desired. 23 Children have much difficulty to get at the things they 
want, and which they can ask only by indistinct words. Hence no one suffers so much as children. 24 A 

boy is as much irritated by the eagerness of his whimsical desires as a patch of ground in the desert is 
parched by the summer heat. 

25 On entering school, a boy is subjected to corrections, which are as painful to him as goading and 
chains to an elephant. 

26 Boyhood, ever fond of toys and trifles, is continually afflicted by a great many whims and hobbies, 
and a variety of false fancies. 27 How can it be said that senseless childhood is a happy state of life 
when the child is led by its ignorance to swallow everything in the world, and to wish to lay hold on 
the moon in the sky? 

2 8 Say great sage, what difference is there between a child and a tree? Both have sensitivity, but 
neither is able to defend themselves from heat and cold. 29 Children are like birds, subject to fear and 
hunger, and ready to fly about when impelled by them 30 Boyhood is the home of fear from all sides; 
such as from the tutor, father, mother, elder brother and elderly children, and from everybody besides. 

3 1 Hence the hopeless state of childhood, full of faults and errors, and addicted to sports and 
thoughtlessness, cannot be satisfactory to anybody. 

Chapter 20 — Denunciation of Youth 

1 Rama continued:— 

The boy, having passed his state of blemishes, gladly steps into youth with hopes of gaining his 
objects that tend only to his ruin. 2 At this time the unconscious youth feels the wanton inclinations of 
his loose mind and goes on falling from one tribulation to another. 3 He is overcome like one subdued 
by the power of delusive Kama Deva (Goddess Desire) lying hidden in the cavity of the heart. 4 His 
ungoverned mind gives rise to loose thoughts like those of voluptuous women, and these serve to 
beguile him like magic black collyrium eye-liner in the hands of children. 5 Vices of the most heinous 
kind overcome persons of such minds in their youth and lead them to their ruin. 

6 The paths of youth lead through a maze of errors to the gate of hell. Those who have been left 
uncorrupt by their youth are not to be corrupted by anything else. 7 Whoever has passed the dreadfully 
enchanted coast of youth, filled with various flavors and wonders, is said to be truly wise. 

8 I take no delight in our unwelcome youth, which appears to us in the form of a momentary flash of 
lightning, soon followed by the loud roaring of the clouds (of manhood). 9 Youth, like rich wine, is 
sweet and delicious, but becomes bitter, insipid and harmful in a short time. Hence it is not delectable 
to me. 10 Youth appearing as a reality, is found to be a false, transient thing, as deceptive as a fairy 
dream by night. Hence I like it not. n It is the most charming of all things to men, but its charm is soon 
lost and fled. Therefore the magic lantern show of youth is not pleasing to me. 

12 Youth is like an arrow shot: pleasant to see, but painful to feel. Hence I do not like youth that 
produces heat in the blood. 13 Youth is like a harlot: charming at first sight, but soon turns heartless. 
Hence it is not to my liking. 

14 As the efforts of a dying man are all for his torment, so the exertions of the young are portentous of 
his destruction. 15 Puberty advances like a dark night spreading the shadow of destruction. It darkens 
the heart and mind by its hideous appearance, and intimidates even the god Shiva himself. 

1 6 j? rrors growing in youth, upsetting good sense and giving no value to approved good manners, 
cause copious mistakes in life. 17 The raging fire in the hearts of the young, caused by separation from 
their mates, burns them down like trees in a wildfire. 18 As a clear, sacred and wide stream becomes 
muddy during rains, so does the mind of man, however clear, pure and expanded it may be, gets 
polluted in his youth. 19 It is possible for one to cross a river made terrible by its waves, but no way 
possible for him to get over the boisterous expanse of his youthful desires. 

20 O how one's youth is worn out with the thoughts of his mistress, her swollen breasts, her beautiful 
face and her sweet caresses! 21 The wise regard a young man afflicted with the pain of soft desire as 
no better than a fragment of straw. 22 Youth is the stake of haughty self-esteem, as the rack is for the 
immolation of the elephant giddy with its frontal pearl. 23 Youth is a lamentable forest where the 
mind, as the root of all, gives growth to jungles of (love sick) groans, sighs and tears of sorrow. The 
vices of this time are like venomous snakes of the forest. 

24 Know that a person's youthful bloom resembles a blooming lotus of the lake. One is as full of 
affections, bad desires and evil intents as the other is filled with bees, filaments, petals and leaves. 

25 The new bloom of youth is the playground of anxiety and disease, which like two birds with their 
(black and white) plumage of vice and virtue, frequent the fountain of the young man's heart. 

26 Early youth resembles a deep sea disturbed by the waves of numberless amusements, transgressing 
all bounds, and regardless of death and disease. 27 Youth is like a furious gust of wind over-loaded 
with the dust of pride and vanity which sweeps away every trace of good qualities. 28 The rude dust 
of the passions of youth disfigures their faces, and the hurricane of their sensualities cover their good 

29 Youthful vigor awakens a series of faults and destroys a group of good qualities by increasing the 
vice of pleasures. 30 Youthful bloom confines the fickle mind to some beautiful person, like bright 
moonbeams serve to trap the flitting bee in the dust of a closing lotus. 3 1 Youth, like a delightful 
cluster of flowers growing in the garden of the human body, attracts the mind to it like a bee and 
makes it giddy (with its sweets). 32 The human mind anxious to derive pleasure from the youthfulness 
of the body, falls into the cave of sensuality, like a deer running after the mirage of desert heat falls 
down into a pit. 

33 1 take no delight in moon-like youth which guilds the dark body with its beams and resembles the 
stern mane of the lion-like mind. It is a surge in the ocean of our lives. 34 There is no reliance upon 
youth that fades away as soon as summer flowers in this desert of the body. 35 Like a bird, youth soon 
flies away from our bodily cage. It is like the philosopher's stone that quickly disappears from the 
hands of the unfortunate. 

36 As youth advances to its highest pitch, so the feverish passions wax stronger for our destruction 
only. 37 As long as the night (delusion) of youth lasts, the fiends of our passion rage in the desert of the 
body. 38 Pity me, O sage, in this state of youth which is so full of agitation as to have deprived me of 
the sight of reason. O pity me as you would for your dying son. 3 9 A foolish man who ignorantly 
rejoices at his transient youth is considered to be like a human beast. 40 A foolish fellow who is fond 
of his youth, flushed with pride and filled with errors, soon comes to repent. 

4 1 Those who have safely passed over the perils of youth are great minded men honored on earth. 

42 With ease one can cross over a wide ocean that is the horrible home of huge whales, but it is hard 
to pass over our youth that is so full of vices and waves (of our passions). 43 It is very rare to have a 
happy youth filled with humility and spent in the company of respectable men. Such youth is 
distinguished by feelings of sympathy and is joined with good qualities and virtues. 

Chapter 21 — Denunciation of Women 

I Rama added: — 

What beauty is there in the body of a woman composed of nerves, bones and joints? She is a mere 
statue of flesh and a frame of moving machinery with her ribs and limbs. 2 Separated from its flesh, 
skin, blood and water, can you find anything beautiful in the female form that is worth beholding? 
Then why dote upon it? 3 This fairy frame consisting of hair and blood cannot engage the attention of a 
high-minded man to its blemishes. 4 The bodies of females, so covered with clothing and repeatedly 
smeared with paints and perfumes, are (in the end) devoured by carnivorous (beasts and worms). 

5 The breasts of women, decorated with strings of pearl, appear as charming as the pinnacles of 
Mount Sumeru washed by the waters of the Ganges falling upon them. 6 Look at these very same 
breasts in the end, having become a lump of food to be devoured by dogs in cemeteries and on the 
naked ground. 

7 There is no difference between a woman and a young elephant that lives in the jungle. Both are made 
of blood, flesh and bones. Then why hunt after her? 8 A woman is charming only for a short time. I 
look upon her merely as a cause of delusion. 9 There is no difference between wine and a woman. 
Both tend equally to produce high-flown mirth and jollity, creating revelry and lust. 10 Overindulgent 
men are like chained elephants among mankind. They will never come to sense however goaded by 
the hooks of reason. 

I I Women are the flames of vice. Their black-dyed eye and hair are their smoke and soot. Though 
pleasing to the sight, they are as intangible as fire. They burn a man like fire consumes straw. 

12 Though they appear soft and juicy to sight, they burn from afar and are as dry as bones. They serve 
as fuel for the fires of hell, and they are dangerous with their charm 

13 The woman resembles a moonlit night, veiled over by her loosened locks, and looking through her 
starry eyes. She shows her moon-like face amidst her flowery smiles. 14 Her soft dalliance destroys 
all manly energy, and her caresses overpower the good sense of men, like the shade of night does the 
sleeping (world). 15 A woman is as lovely as a vine in its flowering time. Her palms are the leaves 
and her eyes are the black bees. Her breasts are like the uplifted tops of the plant. 16 A lovely maiden 
is like a poisonous vine, fair as the filament of a flower but, by causing inebriation and 
unconsciousness, destructive of life. 

17 Like the snake-catcher entices the snake by his breath and brings it out of its hole, so does a woman 
allure a man by her meddlesome civilities and gets him under her control. 18 Sexual desire, like a 
huntsman, has spread his nets in the form of women for the purpose of ensnaring deluded men like 
silly birds. 19 The mind of man, though as fierce as that of a furious elephant, is tied fast by the chain 
of love to the fulcrum of women, just as an elephant is fastened to the post where he remains dull and 
dumb forever. 

20 Human life is like a pool in which the mind moves about in mud and mire. Here it is caught by the 
bait of woman, and dragged along by the thread of its impure desires. 21 The beautiful eyed maiden is 
a bondage to man, as the stable is to the horse, the fastening post to the elephant, and as spells are to 
the snakes. 

22 This wonderful world, with all its delights and enjoyments, began with woman and depends on 
women for its continuance. 23 A woman is a casket full of all gems of vice. She is the cause of our 
chain to everlasting misery, and she is of no use to me. 24 What shall I do with her breast, her eyes, 
her loins, her eyebrows, the substance of which is only flesh and which therefore is altogether 
unsubstantial? 25 Here and there, O brahmin, her flesh and blood and bones undergo a change for the 
worse in course of a few days. 

26 Sage, you can see those dearly beloved mistresses, so much fondled by foolish men, lying at last in 
the cemetery, their body parts all mangled and falling off. 27 brahmin, those dear love objects, the 
faces of maidens so fondly decorated by their lovers with paints and pastes, are at last to be burned 
on the piles. 28 Their braided hairs hang like fly- whisks on the cemetery trees, and after a few days, 
their whitened bones are strewn about like shining stars. 29 Behold their blood sucked in by the dust of 
the earth, voracious beasts and worms feeding upon their flesh, jackals tearing their skin, and their 
vital air dispersed in the vacuum 30 This is the state to which the members of the female body must 
shortly come to pass. You say all existence is delusion. Therefore tell me, why do you allow 
yourselves to fall into error? 31 A woman is nothing but a form composed of the five elements, so why 
should intelligent men be fondly attached to her? 

32 Men's longing for women is like the suta vine which stretches its sprigs to a great length, but bears 
plenty of bitter and sour fruit. 33 A man blinded by greed (for his mate) is like a deer that has strayed 
from its herd, not knowing which way to go, lost in the maze of illusion. 34 A young man under the 
control of a young woman is as lamentable as an elephant in pursuit of his mate that has fallen into a 
pit of Vindhya Mountain. 

35 He who has a wife has an appetite for enjoyment on earth, but one without her has no object of 
desire. Abandonment of the wife amounts to abandonment of the world, and forsaking the world is the 
path to true happiness. 

36 1 am not content, O brahmin! with these unmanageable enjoyments which are as flickering as the 
wings of bees, and are as soon at an end as they are born. From my fear of repeated births, decay and 
death, I long only for the state of supreme bliss. 

Chapter 22 — Denunciation of Old Age 

Rama speaking: — 

1 Boyhood has scarcely lost its boyishness when it is overtaken by youth, which is soon followed by a 
ruthless old age that devours the other two. 2 Old age withers the body like frost freezing a lake of 
lilies. It drives away the beauty of the body like a storm does autumn clouds. It pulls down the body 
like a current carries away a tree from the bank. 

3 An old man with his limbs slackened and worn out by age, his body weakened by infirmity, is 
treated by women as a useless beast. 4 Old age drives away a man's good sense, just like a step 
mother drives away a good wife. 5 A man in tottering old age is ridiculed as a imbecile by his own 
sons and servants, and even by his wife, friends and relations. 

6 When their appearance grows uncouth and their bodies become helpless and devoid of all manly 
qualities and powers, then insatiable greed alights on the heads of the aged like a greedy vulture. 

7 Appetite, the constant companion of my youth, is thriving along with my age, accompanied with her 
evils of indigence, and heart-burning cares and restlessness. 

8 Ah me! What must I do to remove my present and future pains? This fear increases with old age and 
finds no remedy. 9 What am I that I am brought to this extremity of senselessness? What can I do in this 
state? I must remain dumb and silent. Given these reflections, there is an increased sense of 
helplessness in old age. 

10 How and when and what shall I eat, and what is sweet to taste? These are the thoughts that trouble 
the mind when old age comes. n There is an insatiable desire for enjoyments, but the powers to enjoy 
them are lacking. It is lack of strength which afflicts the heart in old age. 12 Hoary old age sits and 
shrieks like a heron on the top of the tree of this body which is infested within by the serpents of 

13 As the grave owl, the bird of night, appears unexpectedly to our sight as the evening shades cover 
the landscape, so the solemn appearance of death overtakes us in the eve of our life. 14 As darkness 
prevails over the world in the evening, so death overtakes the body at the eve of the life. 1 5 Death 
overtakes a man in his hoary old age, just like a monkey alights on a tree covered with pearly flowers. 

16 Even a deserted city, a leafless tree and parched up land may present a fair aspect, but never does 
the body look well that is pulled down by hoary age. 17 Old age with its hooping cough lays hold of a 
man, just as a vulture seizes its prey with loud shrieks in order to devour it. 18 As a girl eagerly lays 
hold of a lotus flower whenever she sees one, then plucks it from its stalk and tears it to pieces, so 
does old age overtake a person's body and breaks it down at last. 19 As the chill blast of winter 
shakes a tree and covers its leaves with dust, so does old age seize the body with a tremor and fill all 
its limbs with the rust of diseases. 

20 The body overtaken by old age becomes as pale and battered as a lotus flower beaten by frost 
becomes withered and shattered. 21 As moonbeams contribute to the growth of kumuda flowers on the 
top of mountains, so does old age produce grey hairs resembling casia flowers on the heads of men 
(with inward phlegm and gout). 22 Death, the lord of all beings, views the grey head of a man as a ripe 

pumpkin seasoned with the salt of old age, and devours it with zest. 

23 As the Ganges upsets a neighboring tree by its rapid course, so old age destroys the body as the 
current of our life runs fast to decay. 24 01d age preys on the flesh of the human body and takes as 
much delight in devouring its youthful bloom as a cat does feeding on a mouse. 25 Decrepitude raises 
its ominous hoarse sound of hiccough in the body, like a jackal sending forth her hideous cry in the 
forest. 26 01d age is an inner flame that consumes the living body like a wet log of wood, which 
thereupon emits its hissing sounds of hiccough and hard breathing, and sends up the gloomy fumes of 
sorrow and sighs. 

27 The body like a flowering vine, bends down under the pressure of age, turns to grey like the fading 
leaves of a plant, and becomes as lean and thin as a plant after its flowering time is over. 28 Like an 
infuriated elephant that can uproot a white plantain tree in a moment, so does old age destroy the body 
that becomes as white as camphor all over. 

29 Senility, O sage, is as the standard bearer of the king of death, flapping his fly- whisks of grey hairs 
before him and bringing an army of diseases and troubles in his train. 30 The monster of old age will 
even overcome those who were never defeated in wars by their enemies, and those who hide 
themselves in the inaccessible caverns of mountains. 

31 As infants cannot play in a room that has become cold with snow, so the senses can have no play in 
a body stricken with age. 32 Old age, like a juggling girl, struts on three legs at the sound of coughing 
and whiffing, beating like a kettledrum on both sides. 33 The tuft of grey hairs on the head of an aged 
body represents a fly- whisk fastened to the top of a handle of white sandalwood that serves to 
welcome the despot of death. 

34 As hoary age makes his advance like moonlight over the body, he calls forth hidden death to come 
out of it, as moonlight makes water lilies unfold their buds. 35 Again as the whitewash of old age 
whitens the outer body, so debility, diseases and dangers become its inmates in the inner apartment. 
36 The extinction of being is preceded by old age. Therefore I as a man of little understanding can 
have no reliance in old age (though extolled by some.) 37 What then is the good of this miserable life, 
which lives subject to old age? Senility is irresistible in this world, and it defies all efforts to avoid 
or overcome it. 

Chapter 23 — The Vicissitudes of Time 

Rama speaking: — 

I By their much idle talk, ever doubting skepticism and schisms, men of little understandings are found 
to fall into grave errors in this pit of the world. 2 Good people can have no more confidence in the 
network of their ribs than little children like fruit reflected in a mirror. 3 Time is a rat that gnaws off 
the threads of all thoughts that men may entertain about the contemptible pleasures of this world. 

4 There is nothing in this world which the all-devouring time will spare. He devours all things like an 
undersea fire consumes the overflowing sea. 5 Time is the sovereign lord of all, and equally terrible 
to all things. He is ever ready to devour all visible beings. 6 Time as master of all, spares not even the 
greatest of us for a moment. He swallows the universe within himself, whence he is known as the 
Universal Soul. 

7 Time pervades all things, but has no perceptible feature of his own, except that he is imperfectly 
known by the names of years, ages and millennia (kalpas). 8 All that was fair and good and as great as 
Mount Mem has gone down into the womb of eternity, like snakes gorged by the greedy garuda. 

9 There was no one ever so unkind, hard-hearted, cruel, harsh or miserly, whom time has not 
devoured. l ° Time is ever greedy even though he devours mountains. This great gourmand is not 
satisfied with gorging himself with everything in all the worlds. 

II Time, like an actor, plays many parts on the stage of the world. He abstracts and kills, produces and 
devours and at last destroys everything. 12 Time is constantly picking up the seeds of all four kinds of 
living beings from this unreal world, like a parrot picks up ripened fruit from under the cracked shell 
of a pomegranate and nibbles at its seeds. 

13 Time uproots all proud living beings in this world, like a wild elephant uses its tusks to pull up the 
trees of the forest. 14 This creation of God is like a forest, having Brahma for its foundation and its 
trees full of the great fruits of gods. Time commands this creation throughout its length and breadth. 

15 Time glides along constantly as a creeping plant, its parts composed of years and ages and the dark 
nights like black bees chasing after them. 

16 Time, O sage, is the subtlest of all things. It is divided though indivisible. It is consumed though 
incombustible. It is perceived though imperceptible in its nature. 1 7 Time, like the mind, is strong 
enough to create and demolish anything in a trice, and its province is equally extensive. 18 Time is a 
whirlpool to men; and man being accompanied with desire, his insatiable and uncontrollable mistress, 
and delighting in illicit enjoyments, time makes him do and undo the same thing over and over again. 

1 9 Time is prompted by his rapacity to appropriate everything for himself, from the meanest straw, 
dust, leaves and worms, to the greatest Indra and Mount Meru itself. 

20 Time is the source of all malice and greed, and the spring of all misfortunes, and cause of the 
intolerable fluctuations of our states. 21 As children play with balls in a playground, so does time play 
with his two balls of the sun and moon in his arena of the sky. 

22 Upon the end of a kalpa age, time will dance about with the bones of the dead hanging like a long 

chain from his neck to the feet. 23 At the end of a kalpa age, the gale of desolation rising from the body 
of this world destroyer causes the fragments of Mount Mem to fly about in the air like the rinds of the 
bhoja-petera tree. 24 Time then assumes his terrific form of fire to dissolve the world in empty space, 
and the gods Brahma and Indra and all others cease to exist. 2 5 As the sea shows himself in a 
continued series of waves rising and falling one after another, so it is time that creates and dissolves 
the world, and appears to rise and fall with the rotation of days and nights. 26 At end of the world, 
time plucks the gods and demigods from their great tree of existence like ripe fruit. 

27 Time resembles a large sacred fig tree (ficus religiosa) studded with all the worlds as its fruit, 
resonant with the noise of living beings like the hissing of gnats. 28 Time accompanied by action as his 
mate, entertains himself in the garden of the world, blossoming with the moonbeams of the Divine 
Spirit. 29 As the high and huge rock supports its body upon the earth, so does time rest itself in endless 
and interminable eternity. 

30 Time assumes to himself various colors of black, white and red (at night, day and midday) which 
serve for his vestures. 

3 1 As the earth supports the great hills that are fixed upon it, so time supports all the innumerable 
ponderous worlds that constitute the universe. 32 Hundreds of great kalpa ages may pass away, yet 
there is nothing that can move eternity to pity or concern, or stop or expedite his course. It neither sets 
nor rises. 33 Time is never proud to think that it is he who, without the least sense of pain or labor, 
brings this world into play and makes it exist. 

34 Time is like a reservoir in which the nights are mud, the days lotuses, and the clouds bees. 

35 As a covetous man, with worn out broomstick in hand, sweeps over a mountain to gather particles 
of gold strewn over it, so does time with his sweeping course of days and nights collect all living 
beings in the world in one mass of the dead. 36 As a miserly man trims and lights a lamp with his own 
fingers in order to look for his stores in each corner of his rooms, so does time light the lamps of the 
sun and moon to look for living beings in every nook and corner of the world. 

37 As one ripens raw fruit in the sun and fire in order to devour them, so does time ripen men by their 
sun and fire worship, to bring them under his jaws at last. 

38 The world is a dilapidated cottage and men of parts are rare gems in it. Time hides them in the 
casket of his belly, as a miser keeps his treasure in a coffer. 39 Good men are like a garland of gems, 
which time puts on his head for a time with fondness, and then tears and tramples it down. 40 Strings 
of days, nights and stars, resembling beads and bracelets of white and black lotuses, are continually 
turning around the arm of time. 

41 Time looks upon the world like the carcass of a ram, with its mountains, seas, sky and earth as its 
four horns, and the stars as its drops of blood which it drinks day by day. 42 Time destroys youth as 
the moon shuts the petals of the lotus. It destroys life like a lion kills the elephant. There is nothing so 
insignificant that time does not steal. 

43 After sporting for a kalpa period in the act of killing and crushing of all living beings, time comes 
to lose its own existence and becomes extinct in the eternity of the Spirit of spirits. 44 After a short 

rest and respite, time reappears as the creator, preserver, and destroyer of all who remembers all. He 
shows the shapes of all things whether good or bad, keeping his own nature beyond the knowledge of 
all. Thus does time expand and preserve and finally dissolve all things by way of sport. 

Chapter 24 — The Ravages of Time 

1 Rama continued: — 

Time is a self-willed sportsman, like a prince, who is inaccessible to dangers and whose powers are 
unlimited. 2 This world is like a forest and a sporting ground of time where the poor deluded 
worldlings are caught in his snare like bodies of wounded stags. 

3 The ocean of universal deluge is merely a pleasure -pond for time, and its undersea fires bursting 
there are merely lotus flowers. 4 Time makes his breakfast of this vapid and stale earth, flavored with 
the milk and curd of the seas of those names. 5 His wife Chandi with her train of Matris (the Furies) 
ranges all about this wide world like a ferocious tigress. 6 The earth with her waters is like a bowl of 
wine in the hand of time, dressed and flavored with all sorts of lilies and lotuses. 

7 In the hand of time, the lion with his huge body and startling mane, his loud roaring and tremendous 
groans, seems like a caged bird of sport. 8 Mahakala (Transcendent Time), like a playful young 
cuckoo, appears in the figure of the blue autumn sky, warbling as sweet as the notes of a lute of gourd 
(in the music of the spheres). 

9 The restless bow of death is found flinging its sorrowful arrows with ceaseless thunder claps on all 
sides. 10 This world is like a forest in which sorrows range about like playful apes, and time like a 
sportive prince in this forest, is now wandering, now walking, now playing and now killing his game. 

Chapter 25 — The Play of Death 

1 Time stands the foremost of all deceitful players in this world. He acts the double parts of creation 
and destruction, and of action and fate. 2 The existence of time is known to us only through action and 
motion, which bind all beings (in the succession of thoughts and acts). 

3 Fate is that which frustrates the acts of all created beings, like the heat of the sun serves to dissolve 
a snow pack. 4 This wide world is the stage on which the giddy mob dances about (in their appointed 
times). 5 Time has a third name of a terrifying nature known as Kritantah (Fate), who in the form of a 
Kapalika (one holding human skulls in his hand), dances about in the world. 6 This dancing and loving 
Kritantah (Fate), is accompanied by his consort called Destiny to whom he is greatly attached. 

7 Time (as Shiva) wears on his bosom of the world, the triple white and holy thread composed of the 
serpent named Ananta (Infinite) and the Ganges River, and on his forehead the digit of the moon (i.e., 
the zodiacal belt; the milky way, and the lunar astrological divisions, phases). 8 The sun and the moon 
are the golden armlets of time, who holds the mundane world in his palm like the paltry plaything of a 
flower bouquet. 9 The sky with its stars appears like a garment with colored spots. The clouds called 
Pushkara and Avarta are like the skirts of that garment, washed by time in the waters of the universal 

10 Before him his beloved Destiny with all her arts forever dances to beguile the living who are fond 
of worldly enjoyments. 1 1 People hurry up and down to witness the dance of Destiny, whose 
unrestrained motion keeps them at work, and causes their repeated births and deaths. 12 People of all 
worlds are studded like ornaments about her person, and the sky stretching from the heaven of gods to 
the infernal regions serves for the veil on her head. 13 Her feet are planted in the infernal regions, and 
the hell-pits ring at her feet like trinkets, tied by the siring of evil deeds and sins. 1 4 The god 
Chitragupta has painted her from head to foot with ornamental marks prepared by her attendants, and 
perfumed with the essence of those deeds. 15 She dances and reels at the nod of her husband at the end 
of the kalpas, and makes the mountains crack and crash at her foot- falls. 16 Behind her dance the 
peacocks of the god Kumara (Subramanyan) and Kala, the god of death, staring with his three wide 
open eyes, utters his hideous cries (of destruction). 

17 Death dances about in the form of the five-headed Hara (the "Destroyer", Shiva), with the loosened 
braids of hair upon him, while Destiny in the form of Gauri (Shiva's consort), her locks adorned with 
mandara flowers, keeps her pace with him. 

1 8 In her war-dance, this Destiny bears a large gourd representing her big belly, and her body is 
adorned with hundreds of hollow human skulls jingling like the alms-pots of Kapali mendicants. 

19 She has filled the sky with the emaciated skeleton of her body and her terrible, destructive figure. 

20 The various shapes of skulls of the dead adorn her body like a beautiful garland of lotuses. They 
sway to and fro during her dance at the end of a kalpa age. 

2 1 The horrible roaring of the giddy clouds Pushkara and Avarta at the end of the kalpa serves to 
represent the beating of her damaru drum, and puts to flight the heavenly choir of Tumburu. 2 2 As 
death dances along, the moon appears like his earring, and the moonbeams and stars appear like his 
crest made of peacocks' feathers. 23 The snow-capped Himalayas appear like a crown of bones in the 

upper loop of his right ear, and Mount Meru as a golden ring in his left. 24 Under their lobes are 
suspended the moon and the sun, like pendant earrings glittering over his cheeks. The mountain ranges 
called the Lokaloka are fastened like chains around his waist. 

25 Lightning bolts are the bracelets and armlets of Destiny, which move to and fro as she dances along. 
The clouds are her dressing gown that fly about her in the air. 

26 Death is furnished with many weapons, like clubs, axes, missiles, spears, shovels, mallets and 
sharp swords, all of which are sure weapons of destruction. 27 Mundane enjoyments are no other than 
long ropes dropped down by the hand of death that keep all mankind fast bound to the world. He 
wears the great thread of infinity (ananta) as his wreath of flowers. 28 Death wears the seven oceans 
as bracelet-belts bracelets resplendent with the living sea-animals and the bright gems contained in 
their depths. 29 The great vortices of customs, the successions of joy and grief, the excess of pride and 
the darkness of passions, form the streaks of hair on his body. 

30 After the end of the world, he ceases to dance, and creates anew all things from the lowest animal 
that lives in the earth, to the highest Brahma and Shiva. 31 By turns, Destiny as an actress acts her parts 
of creation and destruction, diversified by scenes of old age, sorrow and misery. 

32 Time repeatedly creates the worlds and their woods, with the different abodes and localities 
teeming with population. He forms the moveable and immovable substances, establishes customs and 
again dissolves them, as children make their dolls of clay and break them soon afterwards. 

Chapter 26 — The Acts of Destiny 

1 Rama said: — 

Such being the all destructive conduct of time and others, what confidence, O great sage, can men like 
me have in them? 2 We all remain here, as slaves sold to Fate and Destiny, and we are deceived by 
their allurements as beasts of the forest. 

3 This Fate whose conduct is so very inhuman is ever eager to devour all beings. He is constantly 
throwing men into the sea of troubles. 4 He is moved by his malicious attempts to inflame minds with 
excessive desires, as the fire raises its flames to burn down a house. 

5 Destiny, the faithful and obedient wife of Fate, is naturally fickle on account of her being a female. 
She is always bent on mischief and disturbing patience. 

6 As the heinous serpent feeds upon the air, so does cruel Death ever swallow the living. He ripens 
the body with old age to create his zest, and then devours all animals warm with life. 7 Death is called 
a relentless tyrant, having no pity even for the sick and weak, nor any regard for anyone in any state of 

8 Every one in this world is fond of affluence and pleasures, not knowing that these are only 
calculated to lead him to his ruin. 9 Life is very unsteady. Death is very cruel. Youth is very frail and 
fickle, and boyhood is full of dullness and unconsciousness. 10 Man is defiled by his worldliness, his 
friends are ties to the world, his enjoyments are the greatest of his diseases in life, and his greed and 
ambition are his ever alluring the mirage. 

11 Our very senses are our enemies, before which even truth appears as falsehood. The mind is the 
enemy of the mind and self is the enemy of self. 12 Self-esteem is stained, intelligence is blamed for its 
deception, our actions are attended with bad results, and our pleasures tend only to effeminacy. 13 All 
our desires are directed to enjoyments. Our love of truth is lost, our women are the symbols of vice, 
and all that was once so sweet has become tasteless and vapid. 1 4 Things that are not real are 
believed as real. They have become the cause of our pride by hardening us in untruth and keeping us 
from the light of truth. 

15 My mind is at a loss to think what to do. It regrets its increased appetite for pleasure, and for its 
lack of self-denial. 16 My sight is dimmed by the dust of sensuality. The darkness of self-esteem 
prevails over me. I am never able to reach purity of mind, and truth is far away from me. 17 Life has 
become uncertain and death is always advancing near. My patience is disturbed, and there is an 
increased appetite for whatever is false. 

18 The mind is soiled by dullness, and the body is filled with overindulgence in eating and is ready to 
fall. Old age exults over the body, and sins are conspicuous at every step. 19 Youth flies fast away 
despite all our care to preserve it. The company of the good is at a distance. The light of truth shines 
from nowhere, and I can have recourse to nothing in this world. 

20 The mind is stupefied within itself, and its contentment has fled. There is no rise of enlightened 
sentiments in it, and meanness makes the mind's advance to enlightened sentiments only more distant. 

2 Patience is converted into impatience. Man is subject to the states of birth and death. Good 

company is rare, but bad company is always within everyone's reach. 

22 All individual existences are liable to appear and disappear. All desires are chains to the world, 
and all worldly beings are constantly seen to be led away to where, necessarily, no one can tell. 

23 What reliance can there be on human life when the points of the compass become indistinct and 
indiscernible, when countries and places change their positions and names, and when even mountains 
are liable to be dilapidated? 24 What reliance can there be on man when the heavens are swallowed in 
infinity, when this world is absorbed in nothingness, and the very earth loses her stability? 25 What 
reliance can there be on men like ourselves when the very seas are liable to be dried up, when the 
stars are doomed to fade away and disappear, and when the most perfect of beings are liable to 

26 What reliance can there be on men like us when even the demigods are liable to destruction, when 
the polar star is known to change its place, and when the immortal gods are doomed to mortality? 

27 What reliance can there be on men like us when Indra is doomed to be defeated by demons, when 
even Death is hindered from his aim, and when air currents cease to move? 28 What reliance can there 
be on men like us when the very moon is to vanish with the sky, when the very sun is to be split into 
pieces, and when fire itself is to become frigid and cold? 

29 What reliance can there be on men like us when the very gods Hari and Brahma are to be absorbed 
into the Great One, and when Shiva himself is to be no more? 30 What reliance can there be on men 
like us when the duration of time comes to be counted, when Destiny is destined to her final destiny, 
and when all emptiness loses itself in infinity? 

3 1 That which is inaudible, unspeakable, invisible, and unknowable in his real form, displays to us 
these wonderful worlds by some fallacy. 32 No one conscious of himself can disown his subjection to 
that Being that dwells in the hearts of every one. 33 This sun, the lord of worlds, is compelled to run 
over hills, rocks and fields, like an inert piece of stone, hurled down from a mountain and carried 
away by a current stream. 34 This globe of earth, the seat of all the suras and asuras and surrounded by 
a luminous sphere like a walnut is covered by its hard shell, exists under the His command. 35 The 
gods in the heavens, the men on earth, and the serpents in the nether world are brought into existence 
and led to decay by His will only. 3 6 Kama Deva, who is arbitrarily powerful and has forcibly 
overpowered the entire living world, derives his unconquerable might from the Lord of worlds. 

37 As the heated elephant regales the air with his spirituous flowing, so does the spring perfume the 
air with his profusion of flowers, unsettling the minds of men. 38 So are the loose glances of loving 
maidens directed to inflict deep wounds in the heart of man, which his best efforts are unable to heal. 

39 One whose best endeavor is always to do good to others, and who feels for others' sorrows, is 
really intelligent and happy under the influence of his cool judgment. 

40 Who can count the number of beings resembling the waves of the ocean, and on whom death has 
been darting the undersea fire of destruction? 41 All mankind is deluded to entrap themselves in the 
snare of greed and be afflicted with all evils in life, as the deer entangled in the thickets of a jungle. 

42 The duration of human life in this world is being decreased in each generation in proportion to the 
increase of wicked acts. The desire of pleasure is as vain as the expectation of reaping fruit from a 

vine growing in the sky. Yet I know not why men of reason would not understand this truth. 43 "This is 
a day of festivity, a season of joy and a time of procession. Here are our friends. Here are the 
pleasures and here are a variety of our entertainments." Thus do men of vacant minds amuse 
themselves with weaving the web of their desires, until they become extinct. 

Chapter 27 — The Vanity of the World 

I Rama said: — 

O sage! This seemingly pleasing but actually unpleasant world has nothing in it that produces anything 
that can afford tranquility to the soul. 2 After playful boyhood is over, the mind wastes itself in the 
society of women like a deer fallen into a pit, then the body bends down under old age, and man has 
only to grieve. 3 As the body is stricken with the frost of old age, its beauty flies away like the bloom 
of a fading lotus flower, and then the fountain of man's worldliness dries up. 4 As the body declines, 
death rejoices. The body grows lean with grey hairs upon the head, just as a vine fades away with 
flowers upon it. 

5 All living creatures are carried away by the stream of greed that flows for ever in this world, 
eroding its bank and upsetting the tree of contentment growing on it. 6 The human body is like a vessel 
covered with skin floating on the ocean of the world, tossed about by sensual pleasures, swamped by 
water pressured by its whale-like passions. 7 The world is a wilderness abounding in vines of greed 
and trees of sensuality, with hundreds of desires as their branches. Our minds are like monkeys that 
pass their time wandering about this forest without finding fruit. 

8 Those who do not yield to grief during troubles, who are not elated with prosperity or smitten at 
heart by women, are rare in this world. 9 Those who fight boldly in battlefields and withstand war- 
elephants are not so very brave, in my opinion, as those who withstand the surges of the mind amidst 
the streams of carnal appetites. 10 I see no deeds in the world that endure to the final liberation of 
men. Actions proceeding from a fool's desire for results serve only for their restlessness on earth. 

I I Men who have filled the corners of the world with their fame and valor, who have filled their 
houses with true riches acquired by honest means and an unwavering patience, are rare in the world. 

1 2 Good and bad fortune always overtake a man, even if he hides in the cracks of a rock or in the 
walls of mountains, and even if he were enclosed within an iron closet. 

13 Our sons and riches are mere objects of delight to us. To expect them to be of any good to us in the 
end is as false as to expect any benefit from distilling poison. 14 01d people, in the decline of life, 
their bodies in pitiful decay, are greatly tormented by thoughts of their bad deeds. 1 5 Men, having 
passed their early days in the gratification of their desires and other worldly pursuits at the expense of 
the acts of virtue and piety, are much troubled with anxieties at the end. Their minds are seized with 
trembling like the breeze shakes the plumage of a peacock. How then can a man attain tranquility at 

16 To the worldly minded, all wealth — whether forthcoming or unattainable, whether gotten by labor 
or given by fortune — is as deceitful as the flooding of a river, swelling only to subside. 1 7 The 
constant thoughts of men are that such and such desirable acts are to be done to please their sons and 
wives, until they are worn out with age and become crazy in their minds. 

18 Like leaves on trees that grow to fall, and falling make room for others to shoot forth, men devoid 
of reason die away daily to be born again. 19 Men having travelled here and there and far and near, at 
the end of the day return to their homes. But none can have rest by day or night except the virtuous few 
who live by honest dealings. 

20 After quelling his enemies and getting enough riches in his clutches, a rich man just sits down to 
enjoy his gains, and death comes upon him to interrupt his joy. 21 The infatuated mob sees the vile 
trash of worldly gains earned and accumulated by the basest means to be transitory, but they do not 
perceive their approaching dissolution. 22 Loving their own lives, and making faces at others' deaths, 
men are like a herd of sheep bound to the stake, staring at the slaughter of their fellows, yet still 
feeding themselves to fall as death's fattened victims. 23 Multitudes of people on earth forever appear 
and disappear like the waves of a sea. Who can tell from where they come or where they return? 

24 Women are as delicate as poisonous vines with their red petal lips and garments, their eyes as busy 
as fluttering bees. They are killers of mankind and stealers of their ravished hearts. 25 Men are like 
passengers in a procession who wander from side to side to join at the place of their meeting. Such is 
the delusive union of our wives and friends. 

26 As the burning and extinguishing of the lamp depend on the wick and its moistening oil, so does our 
course in this transitory world depend on our acts and affections. Nobody knows the true cause of this 
mysterious existence. 27 The revolution of the world is like a potter's wheel and the floating bubbles 
of rainwater. They appear lasting only to the ignorant observer. 28 The blooming beauty and graces of 
youth are destined to be snatched away at the approach of old age. The youthful hopes of men fly 
away like the blooms of lotus buds in winter. 

29 The tree ordained to be useful to mankind by the loads of flowers and fruit that it produces, in the 
end is also fated to be hewn down by a cruel axe. How then can good men expect to avoid the cruel 
hand of death? 

3 ° Society with relatives is as dangerous as a poisonous plant. It is pleasant for its domestic 
affections, which in reality are only delusions of the soul. 31 What is there in the world without fault in 
it? What is there that does not afflict or grieve us? What is born that is not subject to death? What acts 
are free from deceit? 

32 Those living for one kalpa aeon are reckoned short-lived as compared with those living for many 
kalpa aeons, and they again are short-lived compared to Brahma. Hence all the parts of time are finite 
and the ideas of length or shortness are all false. 

33 Things called mountains are made of rocks, those called trees are made of wood, and those made of 
flesh are called animals, and man is the best of them. But they are all made of matter and doomed to 
death and decay. 34 Many things appear to be endowed with intelligence, and the heavenly bodies 
seem to be full of water. But physicists have found out by analysis that everything is made up of 
minute matter. 35 No wonder that all this should appear miraculous to the mind because even men's 
dreams appear so very fascinating to them. 

36 Even in old age, those corrupted by their greed will not accept sermons on their eternal concerns. 
They think they are as false as a flower or a vine growing in the sky. 37 People's minds are deluded to 
want the state of their superiors, but as they try to lay hold of the fruits of a green vine that is out of 
their reach, they fall still lower, like beasts from the top of a hill. 

38 Young men who spend their wealth on personal gratifications are as useless as plants growing in 
the bowels of a deep and inaccessible cavern, spreading their leaves, branches, flowers, fruit and 

shade to the use of nobody. 39 Men are found to resemble black antelopes in their wanderings. Some 
of them wander about the sweet, soft and beautiful sceneries of the country. Others roam in sterile 
tracts and boundless forests. 

40 The diverse daily acts of nature are all inherently pernicious. For a time they appear pleasant and 
ravishing to the heart, but they are attended with pain in the end, and they fill the mind of the wise 
with dismay. 41 Man is addicted to greed and is prone to a variety of wicked shifts and plots. Now a 
good man cannot be found even in a dream. There is no act which is free from difficulty. I know not 
how to pass this state of human life. 

Chapter 28 — Mutability of the World 

1 Rama said: — 

Whatever we see in the world, living or inert, are all as impermanent as things seen in a dream 2 The 
hollow desert that appears as the dried bed of a sea today will be found tomorrow to be a running 
flood from the accumulation of rainwater. 3 What today is a mountain reaching the sky covered with 
extensive forests is in course of time leveled to the ground, and afterwards is dug into a pit. 4 The 
body that today is clothed with garments of silk, decorated with garlands and fragrance, tomorrow is 
to be cast away naked into a ditch. 5 What is seen to be a city today, busy with the bustle of various 
occupations, passes in the course of a few days into the condition of an uninhabited wilderness. 6 The 
man who is very powerful today and presides over principalities, in a few days is reduced to a heap 
of ashes. 

7 The very forest that is so formidable today, appearing as blue as the blue skies, with the passage of 
time turns into a city with its banners hoisted in the air. 8 In time a formidable jungle of thick forests 
becomes a tableland like Mount Mem. 9 Water becomes land and land becomes water. Thus the 
world with all its contents composed of wood, grass and water becomes something else in course of 

10 Our boyhood and youth, bodies and possessions are all only transient things. They change from one 
state to another like the ever fluctuating waves of the ocean. n Our lives in this world are as unsteady 
as the flame of a lamp placed by the draft of an open window. The splendor of all objects in the three 
worlds is as flickering as the flash of lightning. 

12 As a granary stored with heaps of grains is exhausted by its continued waste, so is the stock of life 
spent away by its repeated respirations. 

13 The minds of man are as fluctuating as a flag waving in the air. They are filled with the dust of sin, 
indicating their wavering between the paths of heaven and hell. 1 4 The existence of this delusive 
world is like an actress on the stage, shuffling her vests as she trudges along in her dancing. 1 5 Its 
scenes are as changing and fascinating as those of a magic city. Its dealings are as bewitching and 
momentary as the glances of a juggling girl. 16 The stage of the world presents us with a scene of 
continued dancing, and the deceptive glances of her eyes resemble the fleeting flashes of lightning. 

17 The days of great men, their glories and deeds, are retained only in our memories and in a short 
time, such must be with us also. 18 Many things are decaying and renewing day by day. In this ever- 
changing world there is no end to this accursed course of events. 1 9 Men degenerate into lower 
animals, and those again rise to humanity. Gods become no-gods. There is nothing that remains the 

20 The sun's rays reveal everything in light and it watches over the rotations of days and nights. Like 
time, it is a witness to the dissolution of all things. 21 The gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and all 
material productions are reduced to nothing, like an undersea fire that exists under the waters of the 
deep. 22 Heaven, earth, the air, the sky, the mountains, the rivers, and all the quarters of the globe are 
subject to destruction like dry fuel by the all-destroying fire of the last day. 

23 Riches and relatives, friends, servants and wealth are of no pleasure to him who is in constant 
dread of death. 24 All these are delightful to a sensible man only so long as the monster of death does 
not appear before the eye of his mind. 25 We have prosperity at one moment, succeeded by adversity 
at another. We have health at one time, followed by sickness soon after. 26 What intelligent being is 
there who is not misled by these delusions of the world which show things other than what they are 
and serve to bewilder the mind? 

27 The world is as varying as the face of the skies. One moment it is as black as dark clay, and the next 
it is bright with the golden colors of fair light. 28 It is now overcast by blue clouds resembling the blue 
lotuses of a lake. It roars loudly for a time and then suddenly is dumb and silent. 29 Now it is studded 
with stars, then glowing with the glory of the sun, then graced by the pleasant moonbeams, and finally 
no light at all. 30 Who is there so sedate and firm that he is not terrified at these sudden appearances 
and disappearances, at the momentary durations and final dissolution of worldly things? 31 What is the 
nature of this world in which we are overtaken by adversity at one moment and elated by prosperity at 
another, where one is born at one time and dies at another? 

32 One that was something else before is born as a man in this life, then is changed to another state in 
course of a few days. Thus there is no being that remains steadily in the same state. 33 A pot is made 
of clay, and cloth is made of cotton, and they are still the same dull materials of which they are 
composed. Thus there is nothing new in this world that was not seen or known before. There is 
nothing that does not change its form 34 The acts of creation and destruction, of diffusion, production 
and preservation follow one another like the revolutions of day and night appear to man. 

35 Sometimes it happens that a weak man slays a hero, or one individual kills hundreds. So also a 
commoner becomes a noble man. Thus everything is changeful in this varying world. 36 These bodies 
of men are always changing their states and are like bodies of waters rising and falling in waves 
whipped by the motion of winds. 37 Boyhood lasts only a few days, then it is succeeded by youth 
which is as quickly followed by old age. If there is no identity for the same person, how can one rely 
on the uniformity of external objects? 

38 The mind that gets delighted one moment, becomes dejected in the next, then assumes its equanimity 
at another is indeed as changeful as an actor. 39 The creator, who in his work of creation is ever 
turning one thing into another, is like a child who makes and breaks his doll without concern. 40 The 
actions of producing and harvesting, of feeding and destroying, come by turns to mankind like the 
rotation of day and night. 41 Neither adversity nor prosperity is of long duration with worldly people. 
They are ever subject to appearance and disappearance by turns. 

42 Time is a skilful player and plays many parts with ease. But he is chiefly skilled in tragedy and he 
often plays his tragic part in the affairs of men. 43 All beings, according to their past good and bad 
deeds, are produced like fruit in the great forest of the universe. Time like a gust of wind blasts them 
day by day before their maturity. 

Chapter 29 — Unreliability of Worldly Things 

Rama speaking: — 

I Thus my heart is consumed by the wildfire of those great worldly evils, and there rises in me no 
desire of enjoying them, as there rises no mirage from a lake. 2 My existence on earth gets bitter day 
by day, and though I have got some experience in it, yet its associations have made me as sour as the 
neem plant by its immersion in water. 3 I see wickedness on the increase and righteousness on the 
decline in the mind of man, which like the sour karanja (crab fruit) becomes more sour every day. 

4 Every day I see honor being eaten up by men arguing with each other, using harsh words as they 
crack nuts with their teeth. 

5 Equally prejudicial to our welfare is too much eagerness for royalty and worldly enjoyments. We 
loose our future prospects by the former, and our present happiness by the latter. 6 1 take no delight in 
my gardens nor have any pleasure in women. I feel no joy at the prospect of riches, but I enjoy solace 
in my own heart and mind. 7 Frail are the pleasures of the world, and greed is altogether intolerable. 
The bustle of business has broken down my heart, and I know not where to find tranquility. 8 Neither 
do I praise death or love my life. I remain as I do, devoid of all anxiety and care. 

9 What do I have to do with a kingdom and all its enjoyments? Of what avail are riches to me, and 
what is the end of all our exertions? All these are only the requirements of self-love from which I am 
entirely free. 10 The chain of births is a bond that binds all men by its strong knots of the senses. The 
best of men are those striving to break loose from this bondage for their liberation. 

II These haughty maidens whom the god of love employs to ravage the hearts of men resemble a group 
of elephants trampling a lotus bed under their feet. 12 Curing the mind with pure reason is neglected in 
youth. Afterwards with age, the mind is hard to heal and admits of no cure. 

13 The worldliness of man is his true poison, while real poison is no poison to him. It is the poison of 
worldliness that destroys his future life, while real poison is only locally injurious to him. 14 Neither 
pleasure nor pain, nor friends nor relatives, not even life and death can bind a mind that has received 
the light of truth. 

15 O brahmin, the best of the learned, teach me the art of the mysteries of past and future. Teach me so 
that I may soon become like one devoid of grief and fear and worldly troubles so that I may have the 
light of truth beaming upon me. 

16 The forest of ignorance is laid over with the snare of desire. It is full of the thorns of misery, and it 
is the dreadful seat of destruction and the danger of repeated births. 17 1 would suffer myself to be put 
under the jaws of Death, with his rows of saw-like teeth, but I cannot bear the deadly pains of 
worldly cares and anxieties. 

18 It is a gloomy error in this world to think, "I have this and have not the other." It serves to toss our 
minds about, like a gust of wind disperses dust. 19 It is the thread of greed that links together all living 
beings like a garland of pearls. The mind serves to twirl this chain, but pure consciousness sits 
quietly observing its rotation. 

20 1 who am devoid of desires would like to break this ornamental chain of worldliness that hangs 

about me like a deadly serpent, like a lion tears apart a net. 21 most learned sage, scatter the mist 
that has clouded the forest of my heart. By the light of true knowledge, scatter the darkness that has 
overcast my mind. 22 There are no anxieties, O sage, which cannot be put to an end by the company of 
good minded men. The darkness of night is dispelled by moonbeams. 

23 Life is as fickle as a drop of water in a mass of clouds blown by the winds. Our enjoyments are as 
unsteady as lightning flashing in the clouds. The pleasures of youth are as slippery as water. With 
these reflections in my mind, I have subdued them all under the province of peace and tranquility. 

Chapter 30 — Self-Disparagement 

Rama speaking: — 

I Seeing the world swallowed up in the abyss of hundreds of rising dangers and difficulties, my mind 
is immersed in a mire of anxieties. 2 My mind wanders everywhere and I am struck with fear at 
everything. My limbs shake with fear like the leaves of a withered tree. 3 My mind is bewildered by 
impatience for its lack of true contentment, just as a young woman alone in a desert is afraid without 
her strong handed husband. 

4 The thoughts of my mind are entangled in my desire for worldly enjoyments, like stags caught in a pit 
covered with grass. 5 The senses of an unreasonable man are always running astray to the wrong and 
never turning to the right way. The eyes of a blind man lead him to fall into a pit. 6 Human thoughts are 
linked to the animal soul like consorts to their lords. They can neither sit idly nor ramble at liberty, 
but must remain as wives under the control of their husbands. 

7 My patience is almost worn out, like that of a vine under winter frost. It is decayed and neither lives 
nor perishes at once. 8 Our minds are partly settled on worldly things and partly fixed on their Giver. 
This divided state of the mind is called its half-waking condition. 9 My mind is in a state of suspense, 
being unable to ascertain the real nature of my soul. I am like one in the dark who sees a tree stump in 
the distance and is deceived to think it a human figure. l ° Our minds are naturally fickle and 
wandering all about the earth. They cannot forsake their restlessness, as the vital airs cannot exist 
without being in motion. 

I I Tell me, O sage, what state of life is dignified above others, is not associated with troubles, is 
unqualified by the conditions of humanity, is apart from errors, and in which grief is unknown? 
12 How have Janaka and other good men, conspicuous for their ceremonious acts and distinguished for 
their good conduct, acquired their excellence? 13 O source of my honor, how can a man be cleansed 
who has smeared the dirt of worldliness all over his body? 14 Tell me what is the knowledge by 
which the serpents of worldliness can be freed from their worldly crookedness and become straight in 
their conduct? 15 Tell me how the foulness of my heart, soiled by errors and tainted with evils, like a 
lake disturbed by elephants and polluted with dirt, can regain its clarity? 1 6 How is it possible for 
someone engaged in worldly affairs to be untainted with its blemishes and remain as pure and intact 
as a drop of water on a lotus leaf? 17 How can one attain excellence by dealing with others as with 
himself, and regarding others' properly to be like straw, and remaining aloof from love? 

1 8 Who is that great man that has crossed the great ocean of the world, whose exemplary conduct 
exempts one from misery? 1 9 What is the best of things that ought to be pursued, and what fruit is 
worth obtaining? Which is the best course of life in this inconsistent world? 

20 Tell me how I can have knowledge of past and future events of the world, and the nature of the 
unsteady works of its Creator. 21 Do so, that my mind which is like the moon in the sky of my heart 
may be cleared of its impurities. 22 Tell me what is most delectable to the mind, and what is the most 
abominable, and how this fickle and inconstant mind may become fixed like a rock. 23 Tell me what is 
that holy charm that can remove this choleric pain of worldliness attended with numberless troubles? 
24 Tell me how can I entertain the blossoms of the tree of heavenly happiness within my heart that 

sheds the coolness of full moonbeams. 

25 O you good men who are present here and learned in divine knowledge, teach me so that I may 
obtain the fullness of my heart and may not come to grief and sorrow anymore. 26 My mind is devoid 
of that tranquility which results chiefly from holy happiness. My mind is perplexed with endless 
doubts that disturb my peace like dogs molest smaller animals in the desert. 

Chapter 31 — Rama's Questions 

1 Rama said: — 

I have no trust in the durability of life which is as transient as a drop of water on the edge of a shaking 
leaf on a lofty tree, and as short as the cusp of the moon on Shiva's forehead. 2 1 have no faith in the 
durability of life which is transient as the swelling in the pouch of a frog as it croaks in the meadow. 
Nor do I have any trust in the company of friends which is as dangerous as the treacherous traps of 

3 What can we do under the misty cloud of errors that raise our tempestuous desires flashing forth in 
lightning bolts of ambition and bursting out in the thunder claps of selfishness? 4 How shall we save 
ourselves from the temptations of our desires that dance around us like peacocks? How shall we save 
ourselves from the bustle of the world that breaks in on us as thickly as the blossoms of the kurchi 
plant? 5 How can we fly from the clutches of cruel Fate who, like a cat in the twinkling of an eye, 
suddenly springs upon his prey and kills the living as if they were poor mice? 6 To what expedient, 
what course, what reflections, and what refuge must we have recourse in order to avoid the unknown 
tracks of future lives? 

7 There is nothing so trifling in this earth below or in the heavens above which you gifted men cannot 
raise to consequence. 8 How can one relish this accursed, troublesome and vapid world unless he is 
infatuated by ignorance? 9 It is the fusion of desires that produces the milky beverage of contentment 
and fills the earth with delights like spring adorns it with flowers. 

1 ° Tell me, O sage, how the mist of our desires, which darkens the moon of our intellects, is to be 
dispelled from our minds to make it shine forth in its full brightness. n How are we to deal with this 
wilderness of the world, knowing well that it is destructive both of our present and future interests? 

12 Who is there who moves about in this ocean of the earth and who is not buffeted by the waves of his 
passions and diseases, and by the currents of his enjoyments and prosperity? 

13 Tell me, O best of sages, how one who has fallen into the furnace of this earth may escape unburned 
like mercury. 14 How can one be rid of the world when it is impossible for him to avoid dealing with 
it, in the same manner as it is impossible for aquatic animals to live without their native element? 

15 Even our good deeds are not without affection and hatred, pleasure and pain, just like no flame is 
unaccompanied by its power of burning. 

16 Without right reasoning, it is impossible to restrain the mind from thinking on worldly matters, so 
therefore deign to communicate to me the dictates of sound reason for my guidance. 1 7 Give me the 
best instruction for warding off miseries, either by confronting or renouncing the affairs of life. 18 Tell 
me about that man of enlightened understanding who attained the highest state of holiness and 
tranquility of his mind, and the deeds and manner by which he achieved the same. 1 9 Tell me, good 
sage, how the ancient saints fled out of the reach of misery so that I may learn the same to suppress my 
false conceptions. 20 Or, if there be no such knowledge in existence or, if there is, whether it is to be 
kept secret from to me. 

2 1 Should I fail to attain that highest state of tranquility, then I must remain inactive and avoid my 
sense of egoism altogether. 22 1 will refrain from eating and drinking even water, and from clothing 

myself. I will cease from all my actions of bathing and making my offerings, as also from my diet and 
the like. 23 I will attend to no duty, nor care about prosperity or calamity. I will be free from all 
desires except that of the abandonment of this body. 24 1 must remain aloof from all fears, sympathies, 
selfish feelings and emulation, and continue to sit quietly as a figure in painting. 25 1 will gradually do 
away with the inspiration and respiration of my breath and outward sensations until I part with this 
trifle, the seat all of troubles, this the so called body. 

26 1 do not belong to this body, nor does it belong to me, nor is anything else mine. I shall be null and 
void like a lamp without oil and abandon everything to do with this body. 

27 Valmiki said: — 

Then Rama, who was as lovely as the moon and whose mind was well filled with reasoning, became 
silent before the assemblage of eminent men, like a peacock, in awe, ceases his screaming before 
gathering clouds. 

Chapter 32 — Praise for Rama's Speech 

1 Valmiki said: — 

When Prince Rama concluded his speech, calculated to remove all ignorance from the mind, 2 all men 
in the assembly had their eyes beaming with wonder. The hairs on their bodies stood erect and 
pierced through their garments as if wishing to hear the speech. 3 For a moment, after their stoic 
detachment and in their eagerness, the assembly seemed to have lost their worldly desires and be 
rolling in a sea of nectar. 4 The audience remained motionless, like figures in a painting, enraptured 
with internal delight having heard the sweet words of fortunate Rama. 

5 There were Vasishta and Vishwamitra with other sages, and prime minister Jayanta and other royal 
counselors then seated in that assembly. 6 There were also King Dasharata and his subordinate kings, 
citizens and foreign delegates, chieftains and princes, together with brahmins and men learned in the 
Vedas and divine knowledge. 7 These accompanied by their friends and allies, with birds in their 
cages and royal antelopes and steeds about the palace, had listened to Rama with fixed and mute 
attention. 8 Likewise Queen Kausalya and other ladies adorned with their best jewels were seated at 
the windows, all mute and motionless. 

9 Besides these, the birds on the trees and vines of the princely pleasure garden were listening to 
Rama without fluttering their wings or making any motion or sound. 10 Also present were masters and 
aerial beings, tribes of celestial musicians (gandharvas and kinnaras), together with Narada, \yasa 
and Pulapa, the lords of the sages. n There were also some of the gods and chiefs of gods, demigods 
(vidyadharas) and the divine cobras (naagas) who heard Rama's speech full of meaning and clarity. 

12 Rama, his eyes beautiful as lotuses, his face lovely as the moon, the star in the sky of Raghu's 
family, held his silence. 

13 From heaven, divine beings showered flowers upon him with loud cheers and blessings. 14 People 
in the assembly were delighted with the sweet scent and beauty of these flowers from paradise filled 
with humming bees. 15 When blown into the air by the breeze of heaven, these flowers appeared like 
clusters of stars, which after their fall, brightened the ground with their beauty like the beaming smiles 
of heavenly maids. 16 They appeared like raindrops falling from clouds, ablaze with the light of silent 
lightning, and scattering like balls of fresh butter. 17 They also resembled particles of snowballs, like 
the beads of a necklace made of pearls, like beams of moonlight, like small waves in a sea of milk, or 
like drops of ice-cream. 1 8 Flowers were carried by the loose and sweet winds of heaven, some 
lotuses with long filaments attended by clusters of bees humming and flying about them. 1 9 Among 
them were heaps of ketaki, kairava, kunda and blue lotus flowers falling and shining brightly. 20 These 
flowers covered the court hall, the roofs of houses and their courtyards. Men and women in the city 
raised their heads to behold them falling. 2 l The sky remained quite unclouded as flowers fell 
constantly from above. A sight like this, never before seen, struck people with wonder. 22 The shower 
of flowers fell for quarter of an hour, but the masters from whose hands they fell were unseen all the 

2 3 When the falling of flowers ceased, after the assembly was covered with them, they heard the 
following words from the divine beings in the sky, 24 "We have been travelling everywhere in bodies 

as spiritual masters (siddhas) from the beginning of creation, but nowhere have we ever heard any 
speech as sweet as this. 25 Even the gods such as ourselves have never heard such a magnanimous 
speech of detachment as Rama, the moon of Raghu's race, has just now spoken. 26 We account 
ourselves truly blessed to have heard today this highly charming and wonderful speech from the mouth 
of Rama himself. 2 7 Indeed we are awakened and edified by attending diligently to Rama's truly 
excellent speech on the ambrosial bliss of asceticism, and leading to the highest joy of men." 

Chapter 33 — Association of Celestial & Earthly Beings 

1 The spiritual masters (siddhas) said, "It behooves us to hear the decision of the great sages in reply 
to the holy sermon delivered by the chief of Raghu's race. 2 Come forward, you great chiefs of the 
sages, you Narada, Vyasa, Pulaha and all you other great sages, and be ready. 3 Let us descend to the 
full open court of Dasharata, which is as bright as gold and free from stain, like bees alighting on an 
immaculate, golden lotus. 

4 Valmiki said: — 

So saying, the whole company of divine sages left their celestial abode for that court. 5 There Narada, 
the chief of sages, sat foremost playing on his lute. In the midst was \fyasa with his dark blue 
complexion resembling a rainy cloud. 6 Moreover, the court was adorned with the presences of the 
chief sages Bhrigu, Angiras, Pulastya and others, with Chyavana, Uddalaka, Usira, Saraloman and 
many more with them 

7 Their deer skin garments hung loosely as they embraced one another. Their rudraksha beads moved 
in one hand, and their water pots shook in the other. 8 Their bodies shed a luster in the royal 
assembly-hall resembling the yellow starlight, like the beams of so many suns blazing upon one 
another. 9 They appeared like a shower of moonbeams or like a halo about the full moon, or like a 
circle about the orb of the sun out of its season. 10 They looked like a circlet of gems of varied colors, 
or like a necklace of pearls of great luster. n At the place where he sat, Vyasa appeared to be like 
dark cloud amidst the stars. Narada on his seat seemed like the white orb of the moon among stars. 
1 2 Here Pulastya shone like Indra among the gods, and there Angira blazed like the sun amidst 
heavenly bodies. 

1 3 On seeing the body of masters descending from the sky to the earth, the entire court of King 
Dasharata rose up to greet them. 14 There was a mixed assemblage of the celestial and earthly sages, 
whose commingled glory spread a luster to the ten sides of the court. 

15 Some of them held bamboo sticks in their hands and others had lotuses in theirs. Some had put 
sacred grass in their crests, while others had inserted some gems in the braids of their hair. 1 6 Some 
had matted and tawny brown hairs on their heads, and others wore garlands of flowers on theirs. 
Some had strings of beads for their bracelets and others wore wristlets made of jasmine flowers. 

1 7 Some were clothed in tatters, and others wore garments made of bark, while yet others wore 
clothes of silk. Some were girt with girdles of grass and skin about their waists, and others wore 
waistbands with pendant strings of pearl. 

18 Vasishta and Vishwamitra honored the celestials one by one with respectful offerings, water and 
courteous address. 19 The great body of the celestials also honored Vasishta and Vishwamitra in their 
turn, with water and offerings worthy of them, and with polite speeches. 20 The king also honored the 
gods and the body of the spiritual masters, who in return greeted the monarch with inquiries about his 
welfare. 2 1 Then the heavenly and earthly saints exchanged greetings with one another with cordial 
welcomes and gestures, and were all seated afterwards on seats made of kusa grass. 22 They next 
honored Rama, who lay bowing before them, with gentle words and congratulations accompanied 
with offerings of flowers. 

23 Seated in that assembly were the sages Vishwamitra, Vasishta, Varna Deva and the ministers of 
state. 24 Also there were Narada, the son of Brahma, \fyasa, the greatest of sages, Marichi, Durvasa 
and Angira. 25 Kratu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Saraloma, the great sage Vatsayana, Bharadwaja, and Valmiki 
the great bard and sage, were all there, 26 as were Uddalaka, Richika, Sarjati as well as Chyavana. 
2 7 These and many others versed in the various branches of the Vedas, knowing all things worth 
knowing, were the leading members of that assembly. 

28 Then Narada and others joined with Vishwamitra and Vasishta in addressing Rama, who was 
sitting silent with his face turned downwards. They said, 29 "We admire the prince's blessed and 
graceful speech dignified with the spirit of detachment that breathes through the whole of it. 30 It is full 
of thought. It is perspicuous, elegant, clear, dignified, sweet and worthy of noble minded men by its 
lucid style and lack of faults. 31 Who is not struck with admiration at Rama's speech? It expresses his 
thoughts well, correct in its diction, plain, sweet and agreeable to all." 

32 "It is rare to find one man among a hundred who is so eloquent, combining dignity and force with 
clarity and sweetness such that they command the admiration of all. 33 Who has such a clear head as 
our prince, a head that is as penetrating as the best pointed arrow, and as fruitful and beautiful as a 
creeping vine plant? 34 He is truly a man whose intellectual light, like that of Rama, burns like the 
flame of a lamp within himself and enlightens all about him" 

35 "Man's blood, flesh and bones serve as machines to supply him with sensations of external objects, 
but there is no intelligence in them. 36 Life and death, old age and troubles, repeatedly overtake every 
man, but they are beasts who are so infatuated that they never to think of these. 37 There is scarcely 
any man to be seen who has an understanding as clear as Rama, who can use the past to judge the 
future. 38 Rama is the most excellent, admirable, useful and well shaped person among men, like the 
mango tree among the many useful plants. 39 It is only today that we see a man of Rama's age having 
acquired so much experience of the world and who is so extraordinarily mature in understanding." 

40 "In every place there are many trees found growing that are beautiful to see, easy to climb, and 
abundant in flowers and leaves, but there is no tree of paradise growing on earth. 41 In every forest 
trees grow with good flowers and leaves, but the extraordinary and fair clove tree is not always to be 
found. 42 Rama has displayed the wonder of his knowledge, like the moon displays her cooling beams, 
and good trees their clusters of blossoms, and like flowers diffuse their fragrance all about. 43 It is 
very difficult to get the essence of true knowledge in this accursed world constructed by the 
uncontrollable and dominant predestination (of our past acts)." 

44 "Only those are reckoned the best of men and leaders of the good who try their best to gain the 
essence of truth, and whose minds are fixed on glory as their best treasure. 45 We do not see anyone in 
all this world equal to Rama in discrimination and magnanimity, nor shall there be one like him in 
future. This is our firm conviction." 

46 "If this speech of Rama which has filled every one here with admiration fails to get a reply to the 
satisfaction of Rama's mind, it is certain that all of us here must pass for senseless sages." 


The Aspirant Who Longs for Liberation 

(Mumukshu Khanda) 

This section deals with the preparations required of the person who seeks God and the moral and 
mental qualities necessary to qualify for the spiritual path. Vasishta states that peace of mind 
(shanti), contentment (santosha), keeping the company of realized sages (satsanga), and inquiry 
into the nature of the soul (vichara) are the four sentinels that guard the gates to moksha, or 
liberation. The belief that one is confined by fate is severely condemned and the person who seeks 
spiritual development is urged to rely on personal efforts for progress on the spiritual path. 

The person should not shun action but should learn to be indifferent to its fruits. One should not 
be affected by the pleasures and pains that are the inevitable accompaniment of action. The person 
is advised to keep the company of saints and to study the scriptures (shastras), particularly those 
dealing with self knowledge (atma vidya). 

Chapter 1 — The Liberation of Shukadeva: His Need for Confirmation 

I After Rama delivered his speech before the assembly, sage Vishwamitra, who sat before Rama, 
tenderly said, 2 "Rama, you are the best of the most intelligent, and you have nothing more to learn that 
you have not already come to know by your own observation. 3 You have an understanding clear like 
a mirror, and your questions serve to polish and reflect your understanding to others. 4 You have a 
mind like that of Shuka, the son of the great \yasa, who knowing the knowable by intuition, was yet in 
need of some teaching to confirm his belief." 

5 Rama said, "How was it that Shuka, son of the great Vyasa, did not at first rest assured of his 
knowledge of the knowable, but then came to be settled in his belief?" 

6 Vishwamitra answered, "Hear me relate to you, Rama, the story of Shukadeva, whose case was 
exactly like yours. The narration of this story prevents future births." 

Vishwamitra speaking: — 

7 There is the great Vyasa sitting on his seat of gold by your father's side, swarthy in his complexion 
like a coal-black hill, but blazing in brilliance like the burning sun. 8 His son named Shuka was a boy 
of great learning and wisdom, of a moon-like countenance, with a stature sedate as a sacrificial altar. 
9 Like you, he reflected in his mind on the vanity of worldly affairs and became equally indifferent to 
all its concerns. 10 It was then that this great minded youth was led by his own discriminative 
understanding to a long inquiry after what was true, which he found at last by his own investigation. 

I I Having obtained the highest truth, he was still unsettled in his mind, and could not trust his own 
knowledge. 12 His mind grew indifferent to its perceptions of the transitory enjoyments of the world, 
and, like chataka cuckoos, thirsted only after the dew drops of heavenly bliss. 

1 3 Once upon a time the clear sighted Shuka finding his father, sage Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, 
silting quietly alone, he reverently asked him, 14 "Tell me, O sage, where does this commotion of the 
world arise, and how can it subside? What is its cause, how far does it extend, and where is its end?" 

15 Sage Vyasa, who knew the nature of the soul, being asked this by his son, explained to him clearly 
all that was to be said. 16 Shuka thought that he already knew all this by his good understanding and 
therefore did not think much of his father's instructions. 17 Vyasa, understanding the thoughts of his 
son, replied that he himself knew no belter than his son about the true nature of these things, 1 8 but 
there was a king in this land named Janaka who well knew the knowledge of the knowable, and from 
whom Shuka could learn everything. 

1 9 Being thus directed by his father, Shuka went to the city of Videha at the foot of Mount Sumeru, 
which city was under the rule of Janaka. 20 The door keeper informed the high minded Janaka of his 
coming, telling him that Shuka the son of Vyasa was waiting at the gate. 21 Janaka who understood that 
Shuka had come to learn from him, gave no heed to the news but held his silence for seven days 

22 The king then ordered Shuka to be brought to the outer compound, where he had to remain irritated 
in spirit for seven more days. 23 Shuka was then commanded to enter the inner apartment, where he 
continued a week more without seeing the king. 24 Here Janaka entertained the moon- faced Shuka with 

an abundance of food, perfumes and lusty maidens. 2 5 But neither those vexations nor these 
entertainments could affect the tenor of Shuka's mind, which remained firm as a rock against the 
blasts of wind. 26 He remained there like the full moon, tranquil in his desires, silent and contented in 
his mind. 

27 King Janaka, having come to know the disposition of Shuka's mind, had him brought to his 
presence, where seeing the complacency of his soul, he rose up and bowed down to him 28 Janaka 
said, "You have accomplished to the full all your duties in this world, and you have obtained the 
object of your heart's desire to its utmost extent. What do you now desire for which you are welcome 
from me?" 

29 Shuka said, "Tell me, my guide, what is the source of all this bustle (of worldly life), and tell me 
also how it may soon subside." 

30 Vishwamitra said: — 

Being thus asked by Shuka, Janaka told him the same things that he had learned from the great soul that 
is his father. 31 Shuka then said, "All this I have come to know long before by my own intuition, and 
then from the speech of my father in answer to my question. 32 You sage, who are the most eloquent of 
all, have spoken to the same effect, and the same is found to be the true meaning of the scriptures. 

33 That the world is a creation of will and loses itself with the absence of our desires, and that it is an 
accursed and unsubstantial world after all, are the conclusions arrived at by all sages." 

34 "Now tell me truly, O long armed prince, so that you may set my mind may be set at rest from its 
wandering all about the world. What do you think this world to be?" 

35 Janaka replied, "There is nothing more certain, O sage, than what you know by yourself and have 
heard from your father. 36 There is but one undivided intelligent spirit known as the Universal Soul 
and nothing else. It becomes confined by its desires (mental conditioning) and becomes freed by its 
lack of them" 

37 "You have truly come to the knowledge of the knowable, whereby your great soul has desisted from 
attachment to objects of enjoyment and vision. 38 You must be a hero to have overcome your desires 
for the lengthening chain of attractive enjoyments while still in your early youth. What more do you 
want to hear?" 

39 "Even your father, with all his learning in every science and his devotion to austerities, has not 
arrived to the state of perfection like you. 40 1 am a student of Vyasa and you are his son, but by your 
abandonment of the taste for the enjoyments of life, you are greater than both of us. 4 1 You have 
obtained whatever is obtainable by the comprehension of your mind. You take no interest in the outer 
and visible world, so you are liberated from it and have nothing to doubt." 

42 Being thus advised by the magnanimous Janaka, Shuka remained silent with his mind fixed in the 
purely supreme object. 43 Being devoid of sorrow and fear, and released from all efforts, exertions 
and doubts, he went to a peaceful summit of Mount Mem to obtain his final absorption. 44 There he 
passed ten thousand years in a state of unalterable meditation, until at last he broke his mortal coil, 
and was extinguished in the Supreme Soul like a lamp without oil. 45 Thus purified from the stain of 

rebirth by abstention from earthly desires, the great soul Shuka sank into the holy state of the Supreme 
Spirit (nirvikalpa samadhi), just like a drop of water mixes with the waters or merges into the depth 
of the ocean. 

Chapter 2 — Vishwamitra's Speech 

1 Vishwamitra said: — 

Rama, now it is appropriate that you have your mind properly purified from its doubts, as it was done 
with Shuka, the son of Vyasa. 

2 You see, O great sages, how perfectly the knowable is known to Rama, whose good understanding 
has learnt to feel a distaste for worldly enjoyments as if they were diseases to him. 3 You well know 
that the fixed principle in the mind of one knowing the knowable is to have an aversion to all the 
enjoyments of life. 4 The desire of results chains a man to the earth. Knowledge of the frailties here 
serves to dispel his darkness. 

5 Rama knows that curtailing desires is what the wise call liberty, and the attachment of our desires to 
earthly objects is our confinement here. 6 Spiritual knowledge is easily obtainable by most men, but a 
distaste for (pleasurable) objects is hard to be had. 7 He who fully comprehends a thing is said to 
know it, and who so knows what is knowable is called a learned man. No earthly enjoyment can be 
delectable to such high minded men. 8 The mind that has no zest for earthly pleasures, except the glory 
of disinterested deeds, is said to be liberated even in the present life. 

9 As no vegetable grows in a sterile soil, no disinclination to worldliness grows until one comes to 
know the knowable reality. 10 Hence know that this supporter of Raghu's race has truly known the 
knowable, which has made him disgusted with his princely enjoyments. n I tell you great sages that 
whatever Rama has come to know by his intuition requires confirmation by Vasishta for the tranquility 
of his mind. 12 For his repose, Rama requires only a reliance upon the Unity, just as the beauty of 
autumn depends upon clear skies. 

13 Let the venerable Vasishta reason with the high minded Rama and restore the peace of his mind, 

14 for he is the master and family teacher for the whole race of the Raghus. Besides, he is all knowing 
and all seeing with a clear insight of the three times. 

15 Then addressing himself to Vasishta, Vishwamitra said: — 

Sage, you well remember the instruction given us of old for pacifying our mutual enmity and 
promoting the welfare of the high minded sages, 16 when our lord the lotus-born Brahma, seated on the 
tableland of Nishadha Mountain and shaded by sarala trees, delivered his wise lectures to us and the 
sages. 17 Through that knowledge of liberation, our worldly desires are dispelled like the darkness of 
night by sunbeams. 18 Now please, O brahmin, communicate that rational knowledge of the knowable 
to your student Rama, whereby he may gain the peace of his mind. 

19 It will not be difficult for you to teach the spotless Rama, whose mirror-like mind is quite clear to 
take the reflection. 20 The wisdom of the holy, their learning of the scriptures, and the scholarship of 
the learned are only praiseworthy when they are communicated to a good student and those who are 
disgusted with the world. 21 But instruction given to one who is neither student nor disgusted with the 
world becomes as polluted as milk stored in a hide vessel. 22 Again, the instruction given by one 
devoid of passions and affections, fear and anger, pride and sin, serves to infuse tranquility into the 

23 At these words of Vishwamitra, the son of Gadhi, the assembled sages \fyasa, Narada and others 
honored his speech with exclamations of "bravo", "well said", and the like. 

24 Then the venerable Vasishta, brilliant like Brahma his father and sitting by the side of the king, 
spoke in reply. 25 "O sage, I will perform what you have commanded me to do without fail, for who, 
though mighty, can refuse to perform the requests of the good and wise? 26 1 will destroy the mental 
darkness of Prince Rama and others by the light of knowledge, just like we dispel the gloom of night 
by the light of a lamp. 27 1 well remember the instructions for dispelling the errors of the world that 
we were given of yore by the lotus-born Brahma onNishadha Mountain." 

28 Having said so, the high-minded Vasishta made up his mind, as one girds up his loins, to deliver his 
lecture to Rama in order to dispel his ignorance and show him the state of supreme joy. 

Chapter 3 — Repeated Creations of the World; Repeated Incarnations of the Same Personality 

1 Vasishta said, "Rama, I will now expound to you the knowledge that was imparted of old by the 
lotus-born (Brahma) for the peace of mankind after he created the world." 

2 Rama said, "Sage, I know that you will expound to me the subject of liberation in full length, but 
first remove my false ideas about the frailty of this world. 3 How was it that the great sage \fyasa, the 
father and guide of Shuka, with all his omniscience, did not attain disembodied emancipation when 
his son did?" 

4 Vasishta said, "There is no counting the atoms that proceed from the spirit and form the three worlds 
both before and after the birth of the glorious sun. 5 There is nobody who can even count the millions 
of orbs that form the three worlds. 6 Nor can anyone calculate what numbers of creation will rise from 
the ocean of divine existence like endless waves." 

7 Rama said, "It is needless to talk of worlds gone by or yet to come. Speak of the present." 

8 Vasishta said: — 

This world consists of brute, human and heavenly beings whose lives, when they are said to perish in 
any part of it, really exist in the same part. 

9 The mind is described as ever- fluctuating. In itself, it gives rise to everything in the three worlds. It 
resides in a void in the form of the heart, and the Uncreated also resides in the empty space of the soul 
(giving the mind the power to realize the latent ideas of the soul). 

1 ° The millions of beings who are dead, those who are dying and will die hereafter, are all to be 
reborn here according to the different desires in their minds. 1 1 The external world appears as a 
reality, but in truth it is only a creation of our desires. It is an ideal castle in the air, and a magic view 
spread before us. 12 It is as false as an earthquake in a fit of delirium, like a hobgoblin shown to 
terrify children, like a string of pearls in the clear sky, and like trees on a bank appear moving to a 
passenger in a boat. 1 3 It is an illusion like the phantom of a city in a dream, and as untrue as the 
imagination of a flower growing in the air. 

It is at the point of death and afterwards that the unreality of the world best appears. 1 4 But this 
knowledge (of the unreality of the world) becomes darkened upon being reborn on earth, when the 
shadow of this world again falls on the mirror of his sentient soul. 15 Thus there is a struggle for 
repeated births and deaths here, and a fancy for the next world after death. 16 After he shuffles off his 
body, he assumes another and then another form, and thus the world is as unstable as a stool made of 
plantain leaves and its coatings. 

17 The dead have no sensation of the earth and other bodies made of the elements, or of the course of 
the world, but they fall again to these errors upon being reborn here. 1 8 There is an interminable 
ignorance resembling an immense river enveloping the face of creation, and breaking into streamlets 
of ignorance that are impossible to cross. 

19 Divinity like a sea shoots forth in various waves of creation that rise constantly and plentifully one 
after the other. 20 All beings here are only the waves of this sea. Some are alike to one another in their 
minds and natures, while others are haifalike, and some quite different from the rest. 

21 1 reckon that sage Vyasa there, on account of his vast knowledge and good looking appearance, is 
one of thirty-two of these waves. 22 There were twelve possessed of a lesser understanding. They 
were the patriarchs of men and endued with equal energy. Ten were men of subdued spirits, and the 
rest were adepts in their family duties. 

23 There will be born again other Vyasas and Valmikis, and likewise some other Bhrigus and Angiras, 
as well as other Pulastyas and others in different forms. 24 A11 other men, asuras and gods with all 
their hosts are repeatedly born and destroyed either in their former or different shapes. 

25 Like this there are seventy- two treta cycles in a kalpa age of Brahma, some of which have passed 
by and others to follow. Thus will there be other people like those who have gone by and, as I 
understand, another Rama and Vasishta like ourselves. 26 There have been ten successive incarnations 
of this Vyasa who has done such wonderful deeds and is famed for his vast knowledge. 27 Myself and 
Valmiki have been contemporaries many a time, born in different ages and very many times. 28 We 
have been together many times, and there were others also like myself, and so was I also born in many 
forms (in many ages). 

29 This \yasa will be born again eight times hereafter, and he will again write his Mahabharata and 
the Purana histories. 30 He will finally attain liberation from the body after he has divided the Vedas, 
described the acts of Bharata's race (in the Mahabharata), and established the knowledge of 
Brahman (in the Vedanta). 31 This \fyasa who is devoid of fear and sorrow, and who has become 
tranquil and emancipate in himself after subduing his mind and discarding the worldly desires, is said 
to be liberated even in his present lifetime. 

32 Those liberated in life may sometimes associate with relatives and estates, his acts and duties, his 
knowledge and wisdom, and all his exertions, like those of any other men, or he may forsake them all 
at once. 33 These beings are either reborn a hundred times in some age or never at all (as in the case 
of divine incarnations), depending on the inscrutable will (maya, or illusion) of God. 3 4 Souls 
undergo such changes by repetition, like a bushel of grain that is collected only to be repeatedly sown, 
then reaped again and again. 

3 5 As the sea heaves its constant surges of different shapes, so all beings are born constantly in 
various forms in the vast ocean of time. 36 The wise man who is liberated in his lifetime lives with his 
internal belief (of God) in a state of tranquility, without any doubt in his mind, and quite content with 
the ambrosia of equanimity. 

Chapter 4 — Results Come from Effort, Not Fate or Chance; 
Acts of the Present Life Are Stronger than Those of Previous Lives 

1 Vasishta said: — 

I know, gentle Rama, that liberation of the soul is the same whether in its embodied or disembodied 
state, just like seawater and its waves are the same liquid substance. 2 Liberation, whether of 
embodied or disembodied spirits, consists in their detachment from the objects of sense. Hence the 
soul unattached to sensual gratification is liberated, having no idea of objects of the senses. 

3 We see before us the living liberated sage ( Vyasa) as an embodied person, yet we have no doubt of 
the detachment of his inner soul from this body. 4 The difference between embodied and disembodied 
souls, when they are equally enlightened and liberated, is like that of the seawater in its calm and 
billowy states. 5 There is no more difference between liberation in the body and without the body than 
there is between the air in motion and at rest. 6 Liberation, whether with or without the body, 
produces unselfishness. We have lost our selfishness ever since we have come to the knowledge of an 
undivided unity. 

7 Therefore attend to the true doctrine that I am going to deliver to you, which will be a jewel to your 
ears as it will dispel the darkness of ignorance. 8 Know, O son of Raghu, that everything in this world 
is obtainable by our efforts being properly employed. 

9 This knowledge — that there is no other way to gain results except but by our efforts — rises like 
the moon in the human mind and sheds its cooling and delightful influence to the heart. l ° It will 
become evident that we see the results of our efforts, and that nothing comes from what the dull and 
mistaken call chance or fate. 

I I An effort, when directed according to the counsel and conduct of the good in the exercise of the 
action of the body and mind, is attended with success. Otherwise it is as vain as the freak of a 
madman. 12 Thus he who hopes to acquire riches and perseveres in its acquisition surely succeeds in 
gaining them, or else he stops short midway. 

13 It was by means of their efforts that some particular persons have obtained the paramount dominion 
of Indra over the three worlds. 14 It is by effort that one attains the rank of the lotus-born (Brahma), 
and some by effort even gain the inner joy of the state of Brahma. 15 It is by virtue of effort that 
somebody becomes the best among men, even as he who bears the flag of the eagle (Vishnu among the 
gods). 16 It was by the exertion of one's efforts that some succeeded to obtain the form of Shiva 
accompanied by his female power and adorned by the crescent moon as his crest. 

17 Know our actions to be of two kinds, namely those of former and present lives. Know that the acts 
of the present life generally supersede those of the past. 

1 8 Know also that energy joined with constant practice and supported by wisdom and some 
stimulating force is able to break down Mount Mem and the demerits of acts in men's former lives. 

19 The exertions of a man proceeding from his good efforts and countenanced by the law lead to his 
success, or else they either go for nothing or turn to his disadvantage. 

20 A man laid up in a state of disability is unable to twist his figure to hold a little water in the hollow 

of his palm to drink. Meanwhile there is another who (by his well-directed efforts) gets possession of 
seas, islands, mountains and cities for himself, supports all his dependents and relations, and does not 
think this earth too great for him 

Chapter 5 — The Necessity of Effort 

1 Vasishta said: — 

Will or inclination, even according to the rules of law and scriptures, is the prime instrument of all 
action, just as the reflection of light gives various colors to things. 2 If someone uses unlawful acts to 
attain something that he desires, it becomes as fruitless as the efforts of a madman. 

3 Good or evil results depend upon how you try, but according to fatalists, fate and effort are the joint 
causes of acts. 4 The truth is, human exertions are either lawful or unlawful. The former lead to 
success and the latter to dangerous consequences. 5 Fortune and effort contend with each other like 
two rams of unequal strength where the mightier overcomes the other. 6 Therefore man should apply 
himself diligently and employ his skill and effort in such a way that his today may overcome his 

7 When two unequal forces contend with one another like two rams, the stronger force, whether of this 
or that man, overcomes the other. 8 When one incurs a failure or danger even by his lawful efforts, he 
should know it to be the result of his misapplied efforts. 9 By utmost exertion in the right way, like 
gnashing his teeth, one can overcome his misfortune and that bad luck that sometimes baffle his 

10 When one finds himself led astray by the demerit of his acts of a former state of existence, he must 
attempt to subdue them by the greater energy of his present state. n One should endeavor to exercise 
his efforts so much that he may beat down the evils resulting from his bad fortune (or predestination). 

12 The evils of bad fortune are undoubtedly removed by the meritorious acts of the present life, just 
like the bad consequence of an act of yesterday is averted by its remedy of today. 

13 Having trampled over an unfavorable fortune by one's reliance upon his continuous effort, he must 
attempt to secure to himself every good for his well-being in his present life. 14 Know that tranquility 
is not to be found through the effortlessness of dull ass-like men. It is the lawful energy of men which 
is said to secure his welfare in both worlds. 15 One should make his way out of the pit of this world 
by force of his energy and diligence, just like a lion breaks out from his cage. 

16 Every day one must contemplate that his body is subject to corruption, his beastly acts must be kept 
back, and man-like acts put forward. 17 Good efforts are attended by good results just like bad ones 
are followed by bad consequences. Chance is merely a meaningless word. 

18 Do not make your bloom of youth as useless as ashes by silting idly at home and enjoying the bliss 
of the harem like a maggot in a wound. 19 He who has no reliance on present objects, but depends 
upon assumptions from the past, is like a man running in fear from his own hands, supposing them to 
be snakes. 

20 It is a pleasure to men of perverted understanding to think of themselves as guided by their fortunes. 
Prosperity flies far away from such men who depend on their luck. 21 Therefore let a man diligently 
apply himself first to his reason, and then investigate the works of subtle, hidden spiritual knowledge. 

22 Those who do not set their hearts to act according to the dictates of the scriptures, but use other 
means to make efforts to gain (their ends), are accursed as madmen because their efforts are in vain. 

23 But people do not even try to make an effort. They think that effort would be endless, and no amount 
of effort could make a gem come out of a stone. 24 Know that like all things, there is a limit to both 
human fate and effort, just like a pot or a picture has a (finite capacity and length). 25 It is by means of 
good conduct derived from best precepts and the company of the good that one succeeds to his object. 
A disposition that breaks loose of these is sure to fall to the contrary, to ruin. 

26 Again any man who conducts himself in the right course of action will never fail in his attempts at 
anytime. 2 7 Some among the best of men had been reduced to misery by their poverty and 
helplessness. Yet by exertion of their manhood, they have again risen to the eminence of Indra. 28 By 
learning the scriptures well from boyhood, by keeping company with the good, by possession of good 
qualities, and by diligent application, a man is sure to gain his object. 

29 It has been seen, known, heard and experienced that acts are rewarded with success. They are dull- 
headed who think of obtaining it through fate or luck. 3 ° If there were no folly of idleness in this 
world, what man would fail either to be rich or learned? It is because of idleness that this earth is 
filled to its utmost limit of the sea with indigent and beastly men. 31 After passing his childhood and 
getting rid of its false and idle playfulness, and when he has attained the age of youthful vigor, let a 
man apply himself diligently to the company of wise men, and to the cultivation of his understanding 
by a knowledge of the scriptures and their meanings, and by scanning well his own faults and 

32 Valmiki said: — 

After sage Vasishta had said all this, the day passed away, and after taking leave of the assembly the 
sages went to bathe. With the rising beams of the sun dispelling the gloom of night, they joined again. 

Chapter 6 — Fate Is the Result of Former Efforts 

1 Vasishta resumed, saying: — 

Fate is nothing but the result of our actions in former existences. Therefore it is possible to leave it at 
a distance and extricate oneself by keeping good company and studying moral scriptures. 2 Whatever 
one attempts to do, he readily meets with its reward. This is the effect of effort. Fate is nothing but the 
same thing. 3 Men laboring hard are heard to exclaim, "O how painful it is!" Men suffering under fate 
cry out, "O hard is fate!" 4 Thus fate, being nothing but a name for our past actions, it is as easily 
overcome (by present acts) as a boy (is subdued) by an adult youth. 5 As some bad conduct of 
yesterday is corrected by proper behavior of the present day, so is past fate is removed by present 

6 Carnal minded libertines who make no effort but depend upon the favor of fortune are perverted in 
their nature and marked for misery. 7 Thus, if acts of courage are capable of averting one's 
misfortunes, then it must be acknowledged that such courage which destroys the other is the mightier 
of the two. 8 Just like two fruit growing on the same branch, one empty within and the other Ml of 
juice, so does courage render the fruit of fate empty. 9 Seeing the decay of the best things in the world, 
we must own the predominant power of the cause of this decay. 10 Like two rams, our fate and efforts 
are fighting one another. Victory is always on the side of the stronger. 

11 In the case of a royal elephant taking up a beggar boy to be made a ruler, its cause is to be attributed 
more to the vote of countrymen and citizens (than to chance). 12 As a man takes his food and grinds it 
under his teeth, so is one (depending on fate) crushed by the stronger party relying on his efforts. 

13 Thus, more active masters employ inferior servants like clods of earth in any work the masters like. 

14 Silly and impotent men seeing the strong thrive by their efforts, whether apparent or unseen, are apt 
to attribute it to their good luck. 15 The strong efforts of men truly constitute the fortune that governs 
them, and these two are viewed alike by the wise. 

16 In the case of the a beggar boy who is installed into the position of ruling and protecting the people 
of a kingdom, it is the unanimous concurrence of the law and ministers and of the elephant and of 
citizens (that is to be taken as the chief cause). 17 Should it be only the royal elephant who elects the 
beggar boy, then in that case it would be attributed to the boy's good fortune only. 

18 Present acts destroy those of the past life, and those of the past life can destroy the effect of present 
acts, but the exertions of a man are undoubtedly successful. 19 Of these two powers, that of the present 
is manifestly superior to the past. Hence it is as possible for the present to overcome the past just like 
it is for an adult to overcome a boy. 

2 ° As a hail shower lays waste the cultivation of a whole year, so also does predominant fate 
sometimes overpower the attempts of this life. 21 However it does not behoove us to be sorry at the 
loss of our long earned treasure, for what does it serve to have sorrow for something that is beyond 
our control? 22 If I have sorrow for what I am powerless to prevent, then I may as well weep all the 
days of my life because death will not spare me. 

23 All our acts are subject to their proper time and place, and to the modes of their operation and 

combination according to the course of nature. That is why the more diligent are the most successful. 

24 Therefore, in order to cross the ocean of this world, we ought to rely upon our efforts and the 
clarity of our understanding from the help of scriptures and association with the wise. 

25 Actions of the past and present lives are the two fruit trees growing in the garden of humanity. 
Whichever is cultivated the best thrives and bears most fruit. 26 He who is unable to overcome his 
false fate by his best efforts is no better than an ignorant beast that has no power over its pain or 
pleasure. 27 He who thinks of going to heaven or hell by the will of the Maker is also a slave to 
destiny and is no better than a beast. 28 The man of a noble mind who is employed in acts of goodness, 
breaks off from the errors of the world like a lion from its cage. 2 9 Those who vainly imagine 
themselves to be led about by some supernatural power, and so slight their necessary duties, are to be 
shunned at a distance as the mean and base. 

30 There are thousands of acts that are attended with gain or loss to their doers, but it is the duty of 
man to do what is right whether they be pleasant or painful. 31 He who does not transgress the bounds 
of law and does not forsake his duties is attended by every blessing abundant as the pearls in the sea. 

32 The wise describe courage as devoted diligence in acts leading to one's object. Being guided by 
the scriptures leads to his success. 33 An act accompanied by exertion accomplishes one's object, and 
the company of the wise and the study of good books serve to raise a man by brightening his 
understanding. 34 The wise know infinite happiness or a tranquil spirit is the supreme good, and those 
good works are fit for study which lead to that state. 

35 The acts of our former lives constitute what we call our fate (daivam) or destiny and they return to 
us from the region of the gods for our good in both worlds. 36 We blame a fate that is the creation of 
the fancy of the ignorant, who by their adoration of such passivity meet their own destruction. 37 One 
benefits himself always by his activity in both worlds, as the good acts of today gives a grace to those 
of yesterday. 38 Therefore, whoever applies himself with diligence to his acts, reaps their fruit like 
that of an amalaki in his palm, which though it is within his grasp, yet it could not be obtained without 
the cost of some labor. 

39 Only the ignorant depart from the beaten path and fall into the error of fatalism. Therefore give up 
that false faith in an unreal fate, which is a mere creation of the imagination and devoid of any cause 
or effect. Apply your manly exertions. 40 The fruit of following the scriptures and observing good 
customs and local usages is long known (to be wholesome), exciting the heart and the exertion of the 
limbs to action. This is what is called "manly activity." 

41 All wise men, after discussion of the subject of fate and acts, have applied themselves to action by 
utter rejection of fatality and have accomplished their ends by attendance on the good and the wise. 

42 Knowing the efficacy of activity, every one should work on personal effort and attain to his highest 
perfection by attending to good scriptures and the wise counsels of learned men. 43 Knowing that the 
bondage of our births is full of pain, let people listen to the wise and strive to exercise their efforts to 
obtain the true and sweet blessing of tranquility. 

Chapter 7 — On the Necessity of Activity 

Vasishta speaking: — 

I Having obtained a body free from disease and a mind free from trouble, one should try to know the 
knowable to prevent further births. 2 Whoever wants to avert his destiny through action obtains the 
acme of his wishes both in this world as well as the next. 3 But whoever is averse to diligence and 
relies on his luck is an enemy to his own soul and sacrifices all his virtues, riches and hopes. 

4 The exercise of our faculties of sense and mind as well as of the members of the body are the 
different modes of our exertions that lead us to success. 5 Our perceptions are the cause of our mental 
activity, and this triggers the body to action whereby we obtain the fruits of our desire. 6 Whatever 
rule exists in the scriptures (shastras), it is addressed to our acts and never points us to fate. Even 
children are well aware of this. 

7 It was by the exercise of their efforts that Brihaspati became the lord of gods, and Shukra obtained 
the position of the teacher of the demons. 8 There have been many weak, poor and miserable men who 
have by means of their manly exertions become equal to Indra himself. 9 So also there have been many 
great men on earth who, after enjoyment of a great many extraordinary things and luxuries here, have 
become guests in hell for lack of exercising their manly virtues. 10 In this manner all beings have 
evaded the effects of their various states of want and opulence by means of their own efforts. 

I I There are threefold benefits derived from the study of books, from the lectures of a teacher, and 
from one's own industry, all of which attend our efforts and not destiny. 12 This is the long and short 
of all the scriptures {shastras), that diligence preserves our minds from all evils by employing them 
to whatever is good and right. 13 To apply with diligence to whatever is excellent, not low or mean 
and not liable to loss or decay, is the lesson of parents and teachers to their sons and pupils. 

14 1 get the immediate fruit of my labor in proportion to my exertion. Therefore I say that I enjoy the 
fruit of my labor and not of fortune. 1 5 Activity gives us success and this is what elevates the 
intelligent. But men of little understanding in their miserable state rely only in luck. 

16 We have visible evidence (of the efficacy) of activity every day, in the examples of men travelling 
in distant countries (for the sake of gain). 17 He who eats becomes satisfied and who does not starves. 
So he who walks is said to proceed and not one who rests. In like manner, whoever speaks is called a 
speaker and not the silent man. Thus action makes the man. 

18 Wise men escape from great difficulties by means of their efforts, but not so the mistaken fatalist by 
his fruitless inertia. 19 Whoever acts in any manner gets his reward accordingly, but the inactive man 
has nothing to expect anywhere. 20 By well directed industry a man reaps the best reward, as he meets 
with its reverse by his misapplied labor. Think upon this, O Rama, and do as you like. 

21 The reward of industry, which a man meets with sooner or later at anytime or place, is said by the 
wise to be his fortune. 22 No one can see his fortune, nor has anybody ever seen it, nor is there such a 
thing to be found in any world. It is only the merit of our acts here which they place in another world. 

23 A man is born on earth to grow up and decay in his time, and no destiny is seen in the same way in 
his childhood, youth or old age. 

24 Application to diligence and action for the attainment of an object are known by the term "effort" by 
the wise, whereby all things are accomplished. 25 Going from one place to another, holding a thing in 
the hand, and the movement of limbs are all the acts of effort and not destiny. 

26 There is another kind of propensity which is towards acts productive of evil. This sort of action is 
likened to the attempt of a madman which yields no good. 

27 Men of acute understandings raise themselves to elevation by their association with the virtuous, 
study of good works, and active employment in duties tending to their own good. 28 The boundless joy 
arising from equanimity is said to constitute one's supreme good. This blessing also results from a 
man's diligent application to the scriptures. 29 Understanding leads to the knowledge of the scriptures, 
and the scriptures tend towards our right understanding of things. Just so does the lotus serve to 
beautify a lake, and the lake lends its grace to the lotus. 30 It is also by virtue of one's deep study and 
good company in youth that a man later attains his desirable objects. 

31 It was by means of his actions that Vishnu conquered the demons and established the order of the 
world. It was by this that he created the worlds, none of which could be the work of fate. 

32 Now, O lord of Raghu's race, employ your efforts to the exertion of your manly activities in such a 
way that you may live unafraid of being bitten by the snake-like people in this tree of the world (crush 
the malice of your enemies). 

Chapter 8 — Invalidation of Destiny 

1 Vasishta continued saying that: — 

What does "destiny" mean? It has no form, no act, no motion or might. It is only a false notion rooted 
in the (minds) of the ignorant. 2 "Destiny" is a word that has come into fashion from the idea of karma, 
the idea of future retribution for one's past actions and the like. 3 From this, ignorant are led to 
believe that there is such a thing as destiny, something incapable of explanation, which has led them to 
a fallacy much like mistaking a rope for a snake. 

4 Yesterday's misdeed is rectified by the following day's good action. Therefore let this day 
supersede the past and employ yourself today to action. 5 The perverted understanding that believes in 
destiny is grounded on false conception. One may as well enter fire with the conviction that it will not 
burn unless it is so destined. 6 If destiny is the sole cause of everything, then why should a man take 
actions of bathing and making his offerings, sitting and walking, all of which may be done by his 
destiny? 7 What then is the need to advise another to do something if destiny is the director of all? Let 
them all be silent and say nothing to nobody. 

8 There is none to be seen on earth who is motionless except the bodies of the dead. If it is action that 
produces anything, then it is useless to believe in destiny. 9 Nor is there any co-operative power of 
invisible destiny that is perceptible in the actions of men. Destiny is only a meaningless word. 

10 Instruments and hands are two things joined together. Each has its separate action, but if the hand is 
lacking, nothing can be done by destiny. n Whether in the mind and intellect of a (learned) pundit or 
(illiterate) cowherd, there is no such idea of destiny. Hence it is a mere non-entity. 12 If destiny does 
not mean agent, it must mean something else. If it is the same thing as agent, why give it a different 
name (i.e., "destiny")? If it can be proved to be an imaginary term, why not imagine your effort to be 
the agent? 

13 Immaterial destiny, like a void, has no connection with the material body. If it had form or figure it 
would be visible. Therefore destiny is nonexistent. 14 If destiny were the mainspring of the movements 
of all beings in the three worlds, then let all creatures rest at ease (with assurance) that destiny will 
perform their parts. 1 5 The belief that we are guided by destiny and do as we are led to do is a 
deception and an excuse. In fact, there is no such thing as destiny. 

1 6 It is a fool who fancies a destiny to himself and relies upon it to his own disadvantage. The 
intelligent raise themselves to better states by means of their effort. 17 Say, who is there in this world 
among the mighty and brave or the intelligent and learned who looks or waits upon destiny? 18 Destiny 
may be said good if it had the power of saving a man from being beheaded whom fortune-tellers had 
pronounced by their calculation to be long lived. 19 Again, O Raghava, if a fortune-teller predicts that 
a man will become learned and he does without being taught, then we can believe fortune is true. 

20 Mark, O Rama, how the sage Vishwamitra has cast away his destiny and attained the state of 
Brahma rishi by his own efforts. 21 Look at us and others who have become sages. It was by our 
industry that we became wanderers in the ethereal regions. 22 Remember, O Rama, how the chiefs of 
the Danava race discarded their destinies altogether and used their prowess to establish their empires 

on earth. 23 Look again how the chiefs of the gods have wrested the extensive earth from those demons 
by their valorous deeds of slaying and harassing them (in battle). 

24 See Rama, how people use their own industry to make wicker vessels so handsome that they hold 
water, all without the aid of any destiny. 25 In all our works of giving and receiving, walking, resting 
and the like, we see no causation by destiny in their completion, just as we see medicines causing 
healing. 26 Therefore, O Rama, give up this destiny of your mistaken fancy, which in reality is devoid 
of its cause or effect and is a false and ideal nothing. Give yourself to your best efforts. 

Chapter 9 — Investigation of Acts (Thoughts Are Action; Mind Is Soul) 

1 Rama asked, "Will you sage, who is versed in all knowledge, kindly explain the true sense of 
destiny (daivam) in popular use." 

2 Vasishta replied: — 

It is a man's activity and nothing else, O Raghava, that is the cause of all his actions and the recipient 
of their consequences. Destiny has nothing to do with it. 3 Destiny is a mere imaginary thing that 
neither exists nor acts nor feels (their effects). It is neither seen nor regarded. 4 Destiny refers to the 
good or bad results that proceed from action. 5 People label the wished for and unwished for 
consequences resulting from the good and bad deeds of human activity as destiny. 6 The majority of 
mankind calls human activity, which is the only cause of some unavoidable future consequence, to be 

7 Truly, O Raghava, destiny, though empty as a void, appears to be real to somebody who thinks it to 
be an active agent, while others know it to be inactive. 8 Again, destiny is a mere saying uttered by 
men upon the result of some good or bad effect of their actual efforts, that "it is this which has 
produced the other." 9 It is my belief and I know it for certain that destiny is no more than a word 
uttered by people upon their attainment of the object of their exertions. 10 Destiny is a word of 
consolation uttered by men to signify the good or evil they encounter and which they call to be the 
effect of the other. 

1 1 Rama asked, "Sage, how is it that you, who is all wise, now contradict your own assertion that 
destiny is the result of the stock of our former acts?" 

12 Vasishta answered saying: — 

Well said, O Rama. You know everything. But hear me tell you the whole of it, whereby you will 
have a firm belief in the nonexistence of destiny. 

1 3 In the end, even all the various desires that men may have entertained in their minds come to be 
accounted as his deeds. 14 A11 animals also act according to their desires, doing nothing for which 
they have no inclination in their natures. 15 As a villager goes to his village and a townsman goes to 
town, so it is the nature of desire to lead men to their particular acts. 

1 6 The keen and firm resolution with which an act was done in a former state of life, that truly is 
termed destiny in successive births. 17 Thus the acts of all active beings conform to their natures, and 
the actions of men are in accordance with their desires. Desire is nothing other than the mind itself, 
and the mind is the same as the human soul. 18 The mind is the soul and cause of all acts which they 
call the doings of destiny. Certainly, without the mind there is no destiny. 1 9 This mind is truly the 
living soul that acts as it desires and accordingly enjoys the fruit. The same is destiny. 

20 Rama, know that the mind, the heart, desire, action and destiny are synonymous terms applied by the 
virtuous to the unascertainable soul. 21 Now whatever the so-named soul undertakes to do continually 
and with a firm resolution, it obtains the fruit thereof accordingly. 22 O support of Raghu's race, it is 
by means of the activity or effort of the soul, and by no other means, that the soul obtains everything. 
May it lead you to your good only. 

23 Rama said, "Being caught in the net of my pre-existent desire, I remain a captive to them and do as 
they lead me to. Say then, O sage, what else I can do?" 

24 Vasishta replied: — 

So then, O Rama, you can reach your lasting good if you exert your efforts for it. There is no other 

25 Desires are of two kinds: some lead to good and others to evil. Hence the desires of one's prior 
state must have been of one kind or the other. 26 If pure desires guide you now, gradually you will be 
led by means of your good acts to attain the state of your lasting welfare. 27 But if wrong inclinations 
tend to lead you to difficulties, of necessity you must try your best to overcome such propensities. 

28 Rama, you are wise, perfectly intelligent, and composed of more than just a dull body. Now if you 
need another's guidance to waken your intellect, then when is your own intelligence? 29 If you would 
have someone else enlighten your understanding, then who was the other who illuminated him, and 
who is the other to illuminate that person also? Therefore, because no one is wholly devoid of 
understanding, let him improve it himself. 

30 The currents of our desires flow between two channels of good and evil. It requires the exertion of 
our actions to turn them to the right course. 31 You who is the mightiest of the mighty must exert the 
force of your activity to turn your mind away from a direction to the profitless and towards a 
profitable course. 32 By directing the mind from the wrong to the right way, it will take the right 
course; and the opposite is true also. 

But because the human mind is like a child, it must not be forced. 33 The training of a child is like that 
of the mind. It is done slowly by gentleness and indulgence, and not by force or hurry. 

34 You have already mastered all your good and bad desires by your constant practice. From now on, 
you have to direct your tendencies to good only. 35 O victorious Rama, when by your pristine habits 
you have an aptitude to do good, know that it is the result of your good nature. 36 O sinless Rama, at 
present your desires are lying dormant in your mind. They require some practice to be employed only 
to the doing of good. 37 If you will not exert yourself now to improve your dormant desires by constant 
practice, you can never expect to be happy. 38 When doubtful, incline towards what is good, and as 
you thrive on this you shall have no evil to fear. 

39 Whatever one practices, with time he will become perfect, just like studying from childhood makes 
the learned free from error. 40 When you have good will inside, you must accomplish your purpose by 
means of your activity and your subjection of the organs of your body. 41 So long as your mind is 
imperfect and unacquainted with the state of divine truth, you must attend to your teacher, books and 
reasoning and act according to their directions. 42 Having first finished your acts and known the truth, 
you must abandon even your meritorious deeds, and all your desires with them. 

43 Having known by your good understanding that the virtuous course led by honorable men is truly 
good, give particular attention to know the nature of God, then forsake even that and remain as silent 
as an ancient sage (muni). 

Chapter 10 — Brahma Propounds the Knowledge of Liberation to Vasishta 

1 Vasishta resumed: — 

This thing called destiny is as true as the reality of God. It is the cause of causes and effect of effects. 

2 Now attend to my words, depend on your efforts, and intently apply your ever confident mind to the 
attainment of your chief good. 3 Use your effort to control your misleading senses from pursuing their 

4 1 will now set out a system for you that contains the essence of the best means for liberation, and 
which will confer the fruits of your exertions and lead you to your welfare in both worlds. 5 Let those 
who have great minds forsake their worldly desires in order to avoid future births and attend to these 
lectures with calm contentment. 6 Weigh well the meanings of previous discussions and those to come, 
repress your mind from its worldly cares, and compose yourself in calmness in order to inquire after 
truth. 7 Hear me relate to you, Rama, the way to emancipation which will remove your feelings of pain 
and pleasure, and which will become the surest means to lead you to supreme happiness. 8 On hearing 
this lecture on liberation in the company of all those reasonable men, you will know that highest state 
which is free from pain, and of which there is no end. 9 This was spoken of old in a former kalpa age 
by Brahma abiding in the Supreme Spirit. It is the remover of all anxiety and giver of all comfort to 
the soul. 

10 Rama asked, "Say, O brahmin who is my guide, what cause moved Brahma himself to reveal this 
knowledge of old, and how did you obtain it?" 

11 Vasishta replied: — 

The Supreme Soul of infinite manifestations exists by itself. It passes through and supports the whole 
in the form of void and understanding and as light to all living beings. 12 From Him who remains the 
same (unaltered being) in his rest and motion, the great Vishnu was born, like a moving wave on the 
quiet waters of the sea. 13 Then Brahma was produced from the lotus of his heart, having Mount Meru 
for its seed, the points of the compass for its petals, and the stars for its pistils. 

14 He, being beset by gods and sages acquainted with the Vedas and their meanings, created all the 
worlds and all minds with their various thoughts. 15 Then he created groups of men in the Bharata 
division (India) and in a corner of Jambudwipa (Asia) and subjected them to all manner of diseases 
and afflictions. 1 6 They are also troubled by the possession and desire of many things and their 
subjection to dangers and diseases. Here all species of created beings are subject to a variety of 
tribulations and afflictions. 17 The lord and creator of worlds, seeing the misery of these people, felt 
compassion for them like a father for his children. 18 Then, for a moment he pondered within himself, 
with intensity of thought and for the good of all creatures, how to end the misery of these beings who 
were subjected to death and despair. 

1 9 With this thought the lord god Brahma himself established the rules of austerity, piety, charily, 
veracity and pilgrimage. 2 ° Having established these, the lord and creator again thought within 
himself: how to make an end of the many miseries of the men he had created. 21 He thought upon self- 
extinction as the supreme bliss, obtainable only through knowledge of God, and whereby man might 

be exempted from repeated births and deaths. 22 It was divine knowledge, he thought, that was the 
only means by which men could crossing the ocean of this world. Austerity, charity and pilgrimage 
were no means to it. 23 With this he said, "I will immediately make a new and sure bridge for the 
salvation of men and for their liberation from pain." 

24 Having thought so, Lord Brahma sitting on the lotus meditated in his mind and produced me from 
himself. 25 Being thus produced, I immediately stood in the presence of my ancestor, like a wave 
rising from the sea leans towards it. 26 Holding a pitcher in one hand and prayer beads made of seeds 
in the other, I bowed down to the god who held a water-pot in one hand and prayer beads in the other. 
He addressed me like this. 

27 "Come my son," he said, then holding me with his hand, he made me sit on the northern petal of his 
lotus of truth that shone as brightly as the moon amid silvery clouds. 2 8 Wearing the skin of an 
antelope and with the voice of a gander addressing a stork, my father Brahma spoke to me who was 
similarly dressed. 29 He said "For a moment I will overpower your fickle-mindedness under a mist of 
unconsciousness, like a dark cloud obscures the moon." 

30 It was under this curse that I lost my reason and forgot everything, even the clear idea I had of God. 
31 1 became as helpless as one out of his wits, and came to be afflicted with distress and sorrow like 
an indigent person. 32 "Ah, how sorrowful is this world," said I. "How did evil come to dwell in it?" 
With these thoughts I remained in silence. 

33 Then he my father spoke to me saying, "Ah my son, why are you so afflicted? Ask me for a remedy 
for your affliction and you shall become happy." 

34 Then, seated as I was on the gold-colored leaflet of the lotus, I asked the lord creator of all peoples 
about the medicine for worldly sorrows. 35 "How, my lord," I asked, "did this world come to be so 
full of misery, and how can people be rid of it? This is what I ask of you." 

36 1 then learnt the most holy wisdom that my father Brahma gave me. Following his advice, I became 
quite composed. 37 Then, seeing me knowing the knowable and restored to my own natural state, the 
creator of the world and revealer of all causes said, 38 "My son, I had turned you to insanity by an 
illusion in order to make you inquire into the essence of true knowledge for the welfare of mankind. 
3 9 Now you are released from the curse of illusion and you have arrived to your highest state of 
understanding. You have become as one soul (with the Supreme) and as pure as gold. 40 Now shut 
your heart against the world and proceed to the surface of the earth, to the land of Bharata, for the 
good of mankind. 4 1 There employ yourself to ceremonial duties to the best of your knowledge and 
advise others on how to properly conduct rituals. 42 But those who are disgusted (with the world) in 
their hearts, and are rational with their elevated understandings, are to be counseled with the esoteric 
knowledge that confers true joy." 

43 Being thus appointed by him who was born in the lotus, I continue to abide here throughout the 
succession of beings. 44 I have no duty to perform here but live my life free from all cares. I always 
do my acts with a mind as tranquil as if it were in a state of sleep. I do my works with the body, but I 
do nothing here with my soul (which is fixed in God). 

Chapter 11 — On the Qualifications of Student and Teacher; the Four Guards at the Door of 


1 Vasishta continued: — 

I have fully related to you about the descent of knowledge on earth, the reason for my birth, and the 
intention of lotus-born Brahma. 2 Now Rama, as you are eager to learn transcendental knowledge, and 
as you are so anxious for it in your mind, it must be the effect of your pristine merit. 

3 Rama said, "Sage, how was it that the supreme lord felt a desire to send down knowledge on earth 
after his creation (and not with it)?" 

4 Vasishta replied: — 

Brahma in his own nature is the same as the Supreme Brahman. He is born in Him like a wave is born 
of the waters of the deep. 5 This great lord saw the imperfection of his creation and saw its whole 
course in times past, present and future. 6 He saw the decay of ceremonial rites after the end of the age 
of truth (the golden age) and other ages and considering the error in which men were to fall, he felt 
pity for them. 7 Then the lord thought of giving me true knowledge and sent me to earth to dispel the 
ignorance of mankind. 

8 Like me, he has sent other great sages here, like Sanat Kumara, Narada and many others also. 9 He 
has sent them all to redeem mankind from the chains of its ignorance through a series of good acts and 
through their progress in divine knowledge. 10 At the end of the past golden age, these great sages saw 
the gradual decay on earth of the holy rituals. n They created rulers at various places on earth in 
order to regulate the course of duties and observe proper limits. 1 2 They made many works on 
traditional law and sacrificial rules to be observed on earth, and appropriate provision for the 
accomplishment of religious and temporal duties (in the smritis) . 1 3 But with time, all these duties 
became slack in their conduct, and men have no thought other than seeking their daily maintenance. 

14 Every day disputes arise among landowners on account of their estates and properties, and people 
are subjected to various penalties in large numbers. 15 Under such conditions, it is not possible to 
govern without states fighting each other, resulting in rulers and subjects inevitably being reduced to 
wretchedness. 1 6 In order to remove the impotence (of such princes) and lead them to a 
comprehensive view of things, we have prescribed many excellent precepts of knowledge to them. 
17 This spiritual knowledge was first given to princes, but afterwards it came to be known under the 
title of royal science (raja vidhya, kingly science). 1 8 This royal science is of a hidden, esoteric 
nature. It is also the best kind of spiritual knowledge. Many kings have been set beyond the reach of 
calamity by knowledge of this science. 1 9 It is after many such fair-famed princes had gone by that 
your mighty self was begotten by the present King Dasharata. 

20 O slayer of your enemies, I find a very agreeable and holy kind of apathy growing spontaneously in 
your most clear understanding. 21 There is another kind of cold-heartedness, O Rama, caused in the 
minds of the virtuous and reasonable men which is called casual detachment. 2 2 But your 
unprecedented and astonishing apathy, produced without any cause and only by your reason, is called 
by the wise to be real detachment. 

23 Seeing the harmfulness of worldly things, what man will not grow adverse to them? The greatest 
displeasure is that which rises in the mind from one's own judgment. 24 They are reckoned as great 
and wise men whose detachment springs without cause (of detestation to the world) and whose minds 
are clear. 25 It is as graceful to see a person whose mind with good discrimination feels a disgust from 
its own judgment as it is to see a young bridegroom adorned with garlands of flowers. 26 They are 
esteemed as the best of men who, after judicious consideration of worldly troubles, apply themselves 
to detachment. 27 It must be by one's repeated and judicious examination of inner and outer illusions 
that he should forcibly withdraw himself from them. 

28 Who is there at the mournful sight of a funeral event who does not feel an aversion to worldliness? 
However, it is aversion born of itself that is highly commendable. 29 I see that you are sincerely 
indifferent and reaching the acme of true greatness. You are worthy of the best knowledge as is the 
moist earth of receiving seeds. 30 It is by the grace of the lord God and Supreme Spirit that a lucky 
understanding like yours naturally inclines to reason. 

31 It is by performance of ritual duties and observance of prescribed rules that the demerits of former 
births are expunged. 32 Upon removing former demerits, understanding turns of itself to become aware 
of spiritual matters, like the simultaneous flight of a crow towards a falling coconut. 3 3 But those 
devoted only to ritual acts are like people plunged in an eddy in which they whirl up and down until 
they come to perceive the state of supreme Qoy). 34 Seeing this (illusory) state of the world, a man 
must shake off the delusion of his worldly-mindedness, just as the elephant breaks loose from his 

35 It is too intricate, O Rama, to understand the course of this boundless world. Not even the greatest 
of embodied beings can know it without true knowledge. 36 Know, O support of Raghu's race, that 
men of great understanding have passed over the un-fordable ocean of the world by means of the raft 
of their knowledge and reason. 

37 Now, with attention and steadiness of mind, hear this rational knowledge for your deliverance from 
the flood of this world. 38 Without the remedy of right reason, the unceasing excitement of the senses 
and the fears and miseries of the world will continually disturb the mind. 39 There is nothing other 
than rational knowledge that can enable holy men to endure the afflictions of the opposite extremes of 
heat and cold and wind and rain. 40 The constant cares and miseries which befall to men at every step 
sometimes serve to torment the ignorant mind like a flame of fire burns straw. 41 But the troubles of 
this world cannot afflict a wise man who knows the knowable and discerns all things; just as it is 
impossible for the flame of fire to burn wood drenched by rain. 

42 A man knowing the truth is like a firm oak tree that no whirlwind of disease or distress raised by 
the hot winds of this desert of the world has the power to upset. 43 An intelligent man who has a mind 
to know the truth must diligently serve his wise teacher with loving regard. 44 What a well-minded 
teacher says in response to any question must be carefully preserved in the mind, like a piece of fine 
muslin receives dye. 

45 O best of the eloquent, you must not receive instruction from one unacquainted with truth. Whoever 
asks such a person anything is the greatest of fools. 46 He is the basest of men who does not carefully 

attend to the words of the truth-telling teacher who is asked about anything. 47 He is the best inquirer 
who seeks answers from a person who demonstrates by his actions whether he knows the knowable 
or not. 48 A person who asks boyish questions without determining the teacher's qualifications is 
reckoned a vile inquirer incapable of knowing great things. 

4 9 When asked, a wise man will reply to him who is able to comprehend the former and later 
propositions, and who is possessed of a good understanding, but he should make no answer to a vile 
brutish being. 50 The teacher who gives his lecture without examining the capacity of the inquirer to 
grasp his meaning is pronounced unwise by the learned. 

51 O delight of Raghu's race! Our meeting is very congenial. We are well adapted to each other. You 
as inquirer are an admirer of virtue and I the speaker am well acquainted. 52 You who understand the 
meaning of words should well consider everything that I tell you and take them to heart. 53 You are 
truly great and disgusted with the world, and you know the truth among mankind. Whatever is spoken 
to you must be impressed in your mind like red dye on muslin. 54 By your attention to what I say and 
your discrimination of spiritual matters, you can make your understanding receive my instruction like 
waters reflect sunlight. 55 Receive all that I say and store them diligently in your mind; or else it is 
useless to ask me anything. 

56 The mind, O Rama, is as fickle as an ape in the forest. Correct it carefully and attend to spiritual 
instruction. 57 Always keep yourself from the injudicious and ignorant and those addicted to the 
company of wicked people, and honor the virtuous. 58 It is by association with good people that we 
can gain the wisdom that resembles a tree yielding fruits of enjoyment and liberation. 

59 It is said there are four guards who keep watch at the gate of liberation (moksha), namely: peace 
(equanimity, self-control), judgment (spirit of inquiry), contentment, and company of the good. 60 All 
these, or three or two of them, are to be attended with care because they shall open the door leading to 
the abode of liberation. 61 At least one of them is to be sought with diligence, even at the expense of 
one's life. Because by securing one of these a man can reconcile and gain all four . 

62 The wise man is a receptacle of all scriptures, of all knowledge and austerity, and is a gem on 
earth, just like the sun is the receptacle of light. 63 The dull understanding of a senseless man becomes 
as stiff as a block, and like water freezing as hard as stone. 

64 Your good nature and good qualities, O Rama, and the counsels of the learned in the scriptures, 
have made you sit here with a heart blooming like a lotus towards the rising sun. 65 Your ears lifted to 
hear these wise lectures have enabled you to repress your thoughts; as the music of the lute attracts the 
mind of the deer. 66 Now secure, O Rama, the treasures of peace and good nature by your practice of 
detachment of which there is no decay. 67 Your knowledge of the attainment of liberation will be 
increased by your attending to the scriptures and the society of good men, and also by your practice of 
austerity and self subjection. 68 You must know that the sure remedy against ignorance is the study of 
divine knowledge with a clear understanding. 

69 Know this world is a poisonous plant and a seat of dangers. It infects the ignorant at all times, 
unless one will take the pains to dispel his darkness. 70 Greed accompanied by ignorance moves 
within the heart in a serpentine course, by turns expanding and contracting it like a blacksmith's 

bellows. 7 1 The true light of things dawns only in the minds of the wise, just as the gentle moon 
appears only in a clear and cloudless sky. 72 He is truly called a man who can judge (the truth) by the 
major and minor propositions, whose mind is expanded and filled with brilliant ingenuity. 

73 Rama, the clear wisdom of your mind makes you shine like the full moon dispelling the darkness of 
the cloudless sky by her cooling and translucent beams. 

Chapter 12 — The Greatness of True Knowledge 

1 Vasishta said: — 

Rama, I honor you as one of a perfect mind. You know what to ask and you understand what is spoken 
to you. Therefore I will continue speaking to you respectfully. 

2 Be still, keep your mind fixed in yourself, and attend to knowledge. Be free of pride and passions 
and incline yourself to pure truth. 3 You are possessed of all the qualities of an enquirer, and I those of 
the speaker, in as much as there are gems in the ocean. 4 My son, you have gained the detachment that 
is closely related to reason, like the humidity of the moonstone correlates to gentle moonbeams. 
5 Rama, your long and early practiced pure virtues and good qualities have raised your fame, like the 
long stretching white fibers of the stalk exalt the spotless lotus. 6 Now hear the words I tell you Rama, 
for you alone are fit to receive them, as only the moon is able to open the kumuda lotus petals. 

7 Whatever business or investigation someone undertakes, it must be brought to a happy conclusion 
that tends towards his peace and tranquility. 8 If men of good understanding did not have the solace of 
philosophy, what rational being could dare bear the misery that ignorance brings in this world? 9 All 
the faculties of the mind are absorbed in contemplation of the Supreme, like solar heat dissolves the 
rocks of boundary mountains at the end of the world. 

1 ° Rama, the intolerable stomach cramping pain caused by this venomous world is healed only by 
yoga meditation, just like the poison of a snakebite is removed by garuda incantations. n One obtains 
the capacity for yoga by discussing the scriptures in the company of good people, which alone can 
provide us with the great charm of spiritual knowledge. 

12 It must be recognized that we lessen our sorrows by acting with reason. Therefore reasonable men 
are never to be disregarded. 13 A reasoning man gets released from his worldly sickness. He quits his 
frame which is full of diseases just like a snake casts off his time-worn skin. He looks with a placid 
mind and calm composure upon the magic scenes of the world. Hence a fully wise man is not subject 
to the misery of the imperfectly wise. 

14 The rough and uneven pleasure of the world (samsara) is a disease that stings like a snake. It cuts 
men like a sword and pierces them like a spear. It binds them tightly like a rope, and burns them like 
fire. It blindfolds their understanding like the darkness of the night. It makes them as prostrate and dull 
as a slab of stone. It destroys one's prudence and lowers his position. It casts men into the pit of error 
and torments them with greed. Thus there is almost no kind of trouble which does not happen to 
worldly minded men. 

1 5 Worldliness is as dangerous a disease as cholera which, unless it is healed in time, is sure to 
trouble its patient with the torments of hell: 16 like eating stones; wounded by swords and spears; 
pelted by stones; burnt by fire; numbed by frost; dislocated limbs; body smeared with blood like 
sandalwood paste; bored by worms like worm-eaten trees; body pierced by pikes, broomsticks and 
the fiery shafts and bolts continually falling in battle; toil and drudgery under the sun; the cold wetness 
of work in a summer fountain house; dumb and deaf without rest or sleep; and, finally, suffering 
decapitation. 1 7 With thousands of such intolerable tortures of worldly life, no one should remain 
negligent of his release from this state but ought to think that only his reflection on scriptures can 

produce his real good. 

1 8 Rama, look upon this assembly of great sages, rishis, brahmins and princes who have fortified 
themselves by the armor of wisdom and are liable to no pain or grief, yet they are engaged in the 
arduous affairs of this world with minds as placid as yours. 19 Moreover, there are many of the best of 
men who with their spiritual light and pure understanding reside in this world like the gods Hari 
(Vishnu), Hara (Shiva) and Brahma above all concerns and fluctuating desires of life. 

20 The journey of this world is delightful to one who, after the removal of his errors and dispersion of 
the cloud of his ignorance, has come to the knowledge of truth. 21 When serenity of the mind and calm 
repose of the heart are secured, all the senses are subjected to peace and everything is viewed in an 
equal light, and this knowledge of the truth gives delight to our journey in this world. 

22 Know also that this body of ours is the car, these organs are its horses, our breaths are the winds 
blowing upon it, and the mind is the driver who feels the delight of driving. The minute, subtle soul is 
the rider who is conscious of wandering about the world. Knowledge of this truth makes our earthly 
journey a pleasant one. 

Chapter 13 — On Equanimity (Peace & Tranquility of Mind), the Characteristics of a Saint 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 Intelligent men who have seen the spirit fix their sight upon it and wander about in the world as 
persons of great and elevated souls. 2 They do not grieve, nor do they wish or ask for anything of good 
or evil (in this world). They do their works with detachment. 3 Those who rely on themselves remain 
quiet, unaffected by good or evil and acting their parts with a calm serenity. They take no concern for 
what is harmful or delectable to them. 4 They are alike indifferent to coming or not coming, going or 
not going, doing or not doing, and speaking or not speaking. 5 After having come to know their God 
(as the author of all good), whatever acts or sights may appear pleasant or disgusting to others cease 
to affect them in any way. 

6 The mind having rid its desires feels a sweet composure associated with bliss that is like moonlight 
descending from the heavenly orb all about. 7 By being unmindful of worldly affairs and regardless of 
all its excitements, the soul is filled with a joy resembling the ambrosial waters in the moon. 8 He 
who ceases to act his magical parts (in this playground of the earth) and desists from following his 
inclinations and childish pranks, shines forth in his spiritual light. 9 Such are the powers gained from 
spiritual knowledge, and by no other means whatever. 

10 Therefore should a man should employ his reasoning powers during life to try to seek and know and 
adore the Supreme Soul. n It is the agreement of one's belief with the teachings of the scriptures and 
his instructor, joined with his constant meditation, that can give him a full view of the Supreme Spirit. 
12 The fool slighting the scriptures and their instructions and disregarding the counsels of great men is 
exposed to difficulties and dangers from which he can have no release. 1 3 There is no disease or 
poison, no trouble or affliction so painful to one in this earth as the ignorance one breeds in himself. 

14 Those whose intellects are purified a little will find this work to be of greater effect to dispel their 
ignorance than any other scripture. 15 Everyone who is a friend to good sayings and good sense should 
diligently attend to this scripture with its beautiful examples, pleasing lessons and lack of 

1 6 Lack of dignity, inextricable difficulties, and baseness and degeneracy are all the offspring of 
ignorance, just like thorns are the offshoots of the prickly ketaki plant. 17 It is far belter, O Rama, to 
rove about a begging with a pot in hand to the homes of vile chandalas than to lead a life deadened by 
ignorance. 18 Rather dwell in dark dismal cells, within dry dreary wells, in the hollows of trees, or 
remain like solitary blind worms than labor under the miseries of ignorance. 

1 9 A man receiving the light leading to his liberation will never fall into the darkness of error or 
gloom of death. 20 As long as the clear light of reason does not shine upon the mind like the sun, so 
long will the chilly frost of poverty continue to contract the lotus of humanity. 21 To liberate oneself 
from the miseries of the world, one must know the true nature of the soul, both from his teacher and 
the evidence of the scriptures, and also from friends like ourselves. 

22 Try, O Rama, to imitate those who are liberated in their lifetime, who are free to roam about like 
the gods Hari, Hara and others, and like the holy sages among brahmins. 23 Here (on earth) our 

miseries are as endless as atoms, and our happiness is as small as a drop of water on a piece of 
straw. Therefore do not fix your sight upon that little happiness which is beset by misery 24 Let an 
intelligent man diligently apply himself to attain that state of endless happiness which is free from 
pain and constitutes his highest completion. 25 They are reckoned the best of men and deserving of 
completion whose minds are free from the fever (of worldly cares) and attached to the transcendental 

26 Those base minded mortals who are satisfied with their enjoyments, eating and drinking, and the 
pleasures of their worldly possessions, are reckoned as stark blind frogs. 27 Those attached to the 
company of imposters and wicked men, or addicted to the practice of evil deeds, who are enemies in 
the guise of friendship, or those given up to gluttony, 28 all such foolish men of mistaken and stupid 
minds fall into the hardest of hardships, to the misery of miseries, to the horror of horrors, and to the 
hell of hells. 29 Happiness and misery destroy and succeed each other by turns. They are as fleeting as 
flashes of lightning. Hence it is impossible to be happy forever. 

3 ° Those great souls who are indifferent and well judging like yourself are known as the most 
honorable of men, worthy of both temporal enjoyments and spiritual emancipation. 3 l By reliance 
upon right reasoning joined with a habit of remaining dispassionate, men are able to overcome the 
dark and dangerous torrents of this world. 32 No man of reason who well knows how the illusions of 
the world derange understanding should allow himself to sleep amid these illusions. 3 3 Whoever 
remains neglectful in his worldliness is like a man negligently sleeping on a grassy bed when his 
house is on fire. 

34 A state reached without return, attained so there is no more cause for sorrow, undoubtedly is 
attainable only by divine knowledge, and that is a certain truth. 35 Even if such a future state did not 
exist, there would be no harm to believe in it. But if such a state exists, belief in it will save you from 
the ocean of this world (samsara). 

36 Whenever a man is inclined to think on the means of his salvation, he is sure to soon be entitled to 
his liberation. 37 The undecaying, unerring and fearless state of tranquility is nowhere to be had in the 
three worlds without union (with the Supreme). 38 Having gained that best of gains, no one is liable to 
the pain from which no wealth, friend or relation can save. 39 Neither the actions of one's hands and 
feet in his offerings and pilgrimage to distant lands, nor the bodily pains of asceticism, nor his refuge 
in a holy place can serve his salvation. 40 It is only by means of one's best exertions and the fixing of 
his mind to one object, and also by the subjection of his desires, that one may arrive at the ultimate 
state (of bliss). 41 So it is that by means of discrimination, reasoning and ultimate ascertainment of 
truth, a man may avoid the snares of misery and attain his best state. 

42 One silting at ease and meditating within himself attains the blissful state free from sorrow and 
future birth. 43 All holy men are known to be beyond the bounds of frail pleasures. They reckon their 
best serenity to be their ultimate bliss. 44 They have given up all thoughts of humanity and heaven, 
which are as devoid of true joy as a mirage is void of water. 45 Therefore should one think of 
subduing his mind and resort to peace and contentment as the means. These joined with an unbounded 
composure produce true happiness. 

46 It is not to be had by sitting, or going up and down, or by wandering, or by prostrating (before the 
altar). It is not to be acquired by rakshasa demons, deities or ignorant men. 47 That ultimate joy is born 
of and obtainable from peace of mind. It is fruit from the blossom of peace of the high tree of reason. 

48 Those engaged in worldliness without mixing in it are like the all-illumining sun and are known as 
the best of men. 49 The mind at peace and rest, clear and free from errors, and without any attempt or 
desire neither forsakes nor wishes for the world. 

5 ° Hear me tell you about the orders of the guards (equanimity, inquiry, contentment, and good 
company) at the gate of salvation. If you know these orders, you are allowed to enter. 

5 l Thirsting after pleasure is a state of protracted disease, and this world is full of mirage. Only 
equanimity can cool this dryness like the moistening beams of the moon. 5 2 It is peacefulness that 
leads to all good and is reckoned the best state of being. Quiet is joy. It is peace and prevents error. 
53 The man who lives content with his quiet and a calm clarity of his soul, with a mind filled with 
detachment, makes friends of his enemies. 54 Those whose minds are adorned with the moonlight of 
peacefulness feel within a flux of beams of purity rising in them like the whitish waves of the Milky 

5 5 Those holy men who have the lotus-like flower of peacefulness growing in the lotus-shaped 
receptacle of their hearts are said to have a secondary heart like the two hearts of the god Hari 
(holding Brahma in one of them). 56 They whose untainted faces shine like the moon with the luster of 
peacefulness are to be honored as the luminaries of their families. Others, seeing the charming beauty 
of their appearance, honor them as ravishers of the senses. 

57 Whatever is beautiful in the three worlds, and whatever may be imperial prosperity and grandeur, 
nothing in them can afford a happiness equal to that of peacefulness. 58 Whatever the misery, anxiety 
or intolerable difficulty, they are all lost in a tranquil mind, like darkness in the sun. 59 The mind of no 
living being is so delighted with moonbeams as that of the peaceful man from his heart- felt joy. 60 The 
virtuous man who is calm and quiet and friendly to all living beings feels the benign influence of 
highest truths appearing of themselves in his mind. 

61 Just like all children, whether good or bad, have a strict faith in their mother, so all beings here rely 
upon a man of an even disposition. 6 2 A refreshing drink of ambrosia or the kind embrace of 
prosperity cannot give such gratification to the soul as one's inner satisfaction of the mind. 

6 3 Whether afflicted by disease or disaster, or dragged by the rope of greed, bear yourself up, O 
Rama, by the composure of your mind. 64 Whatever you do and eat with the calm coolness of your 
mind, all that is far sweeter to the soul than anything sweet to taste. 65 The mind that is overpowered 
by the ambrosial flavor of peacefulness and desists from activity may have the body lacerated, but it 
will heal shortly. 

66 No imp, demon or enemy, and no tiger or snake ever annoys a peaceful man. 67 He who has his 
mind and body well guarded by the invulnerable armor of meekness can never be pierced by the 
shafts of adversity. He remains like the thunder-stone that is impenetrable by arrows. 

68 The king seated in his palace is not so graceful to see as a quiet peaceful man who is graced by his 

calm and clarity of understanding. 69 There is nothing in life so delightful to see as the satisfaction one 
feels at the sight of a contented and peaceful man. 70 Only he who lives a holy life with his gentle and 
peaceful conduct is said to be truly living in this world. 7 1 A sober minded, meek and honest man 
pleases everyone by all that he does. It is as if he captivates all beings to himself. 

72 He is called the meek who neither feels pleasure nor pain at the sight, touch, sound or taste of 
anything good or bad. 73 He who is indifferent to all objects and neither leaves nor longs for anything, 
but keeps his senses and appetites under control, is called a saint. 74 Whoever knows all things, both 
internally and externally, with a clear understanding, and who attends and looks to his own concerns, 
is truly said to be a saint. 75 He whose mind remains as calm as moonbeams at the approach of either 
feast or violence, and even at the moment of death, is said to be a saint. 7 6 Who, though present, 
neither rejoices nor murmurs at anything but remains as if he were absent from it, and conducts 
himself as quietly as if he were fast asleep, such a person is called a saint. 

77 He whose complaisant look casts a graceful nectar-like radiance on all around him is said to be a 
saint. 78 Who feels a cool calmness within himself and is not disturbed or immersed in any state of 
life, and who though a layman is not worldly minded, such a man is termed a saint. 79 He who does 
not take the difficulties of life to his mind, however long or great they may be, or who does not think 
his body to be himself, is known to be a saint. 80 The man of the world who has a mind clear as the 
sky and is not tainted (by worldliness) is said to be a saint. 

81 The quiet man with tranquility of mind shines forth among sages and ascetics, among priests and 
princes, and among the mighty and learned. 82 Great and meritorious men whose minds are attached to 
peacefulness feel a rest arising in their souls like cooling moonbeams. 83 Peacefulness is the greatest 
of all the many virtues and the best decoration of courage. It shines resplendent among all dangers and 

84 O Rama, seek your perfection in the way in which high-minded men have sought and attained their 
perfect states, by holding fast onto peacefulness as an imperishable virtue, preserved by the 
respectable, and never to be lost or stolen. 

Chapter 14 — On Rational Inquiry, the Necessity of Inquiry & Clear Reasoning 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 It must be the duty of one whose understanding is cleared and purified by a knowledge of the 
scriptures to argue constantly with a guide who knows how to reason correctly. 2 Understanding, 
when sharpened by reasoning, comes to see transcendence. The only best medicine for the chronic 
disease of worldliness is reasoning (the second gate-keeper). 3 The world is like a forest of troubles, 
sprouting endless desires which, being once felled under the saw of reason, will germinate no more. 

4 O wise Rama, our understandings are shrouded under unconsciousness at the loss of our friends, at 
times of danger, and even of quiet. Only reason is our companion. 5 There is no expedient for the 
learned and wise except reason. It is by means of reason that the minds of good people can avoid evil 
and secure their good. 6 All our strength and understanding, our valor and renown, and the ends of our 
actions, result from our reasoning with the intelligent. 

7 Reason is the lamp to show us right and wrong and the instrument with which we accomplish our 
desires. By reliance on right reason, one easily crosses over the wide ocean of the world. 8 Pure 
reasoning, like a strong lion, tears asunder the elephants of great error which ravage the lotus beds of 
the mind. 9 If ignorant men have at anytime attained a better state in life, it was all owing to the light of 
the lamp of their reasoning. 

10 Know, O Raghava, that dominion and fair prosperity, together with our enjoyments and eternal 
salvation, are all only fruits of the celestial, wish- fulfilling kalpa tree of reasoning. n The minds of 
great men, expanded by reasoning, are never liable to be immersed under the currents of calamity (but 
float above them) like gourds upon water. 1 2 Those who conduct themselves with their intellects 
shining forth with reason become the recipients of its most liberal gifts. 13 Lack of reason is like the 
thorny and sour karanja plant sprouting forth with blossoms of sorrow, growing in the lakes of 
ignorant minds in order to shut out their hopes and prospects. 

14 O Raghava, shake off the lethargy caused by your neglect of reasoning. This torpor darkens your 
vision as if by the black, eye-liner collyrium powder and maddens your mind as if by the drunkenness 
of wine. 15 The man of right judgment is not liable to fall into the long and dangerous maze of error, 
but remains as a blaze of light amidst the gloom (of ignorance). 16 The reasoning faculties shine like a 
bed of lotuses in the limpid lake of the mind. Whoever has such a reasoning mind exalts his head as 
high as the Himalayan heights. 

17 A man having a dull mind and incapable of reasoning with the sharpness of a flash of lightening is 
like a child who sees false apparitions about him. l 8 Rama, you must shun and keep base, 
unreasonable men at a distance. They grow as plump as a sugar cane to cause sorrow. They resemble 
the spring season that grows fresh weeds of evil. 1 9 Whatever misdeeds, misconducts and mishaps 
present themselves to man, they all result from his lack of the light of reason, and they lay hold of him 
like ghosts appearing in the dark. 20 O support of Raghu's race, shun the unreasonable man at a 
distance. He is like a solitary wild tree that comes to no good use. 

21 A mind filled with reason and devoid of the impatience that attends worldly desires feels the light 
of transcendent quietism shining in the soul with the full luster of the moon. 22 When the light of reason 

shines in any person, it imparts the coolness and good grace of moonbeams to all things around him. 
23 The reasoning power of man accompanied with the flag of divine knowledge and the silvery fan of 
good understanding shines like moonlight in the darkness of night. 24 Men with the good grace of their 
reason throw a sun-like radiance on all sides about them and dispel the gloom of worldliness. 

25 Reasoning serves to destroy the false apparitions of errors which present themselves to the minds 
of children like ghosts in the night sky. 26 All things in the world appear charming, but they are only 
unrealities. They are like clods of earth that are broken by the hammering stone of reason. 27 Men 
torment themselves with the false imaginations of their own minds. Only reason can drive away this 
deeply rooted apparition from the mind. 

2 8 Know that the fruit of the high tree of reason is the even, unobstructed, interminable and 
independent happiness called perfect detachment (kaivalya) . 2 9 Through reason and its evident 
influence on the deprivation of (physical) gratifications, there rises an unshaken and exalted 
disinterestedness in the mind, like the cooling beams of the moon. 30 When a saint has reached his 
perfection by means of the elixir of judgment seated in his mind, he neither desires for more nor 
leaves (what he has). 31 A mind relying on that state of equanimity and perceiving the clear light has 
neither its fall nor elevation, but enjoys its inward expansion like that of vacuum forever. 

32 One unconcerned with the world neither gives nor receives anything, nor feels himself elated or 
depressed at any event, but views everything as an indifferent spectator. 33 He is neither numbingly 
cold nor does he dwell on anything internally or externally. He is not inactive or merged in activity. 

34 He slights the loss of anything and lives content with what he has. He is neither depressed nor 
elevated, but remains as Ml as the sea. 

35 It is in this manner that the high-aspiring, great souls who are yogis conduct themselves in this 
world, with their fullness (of joy) and living as liberated in this life. 36 These saintly sages, having 
lived as long as they like, abandon it at last, and gain their perfect detachment and eternal unity 

37 A wise man should intently consider within who he is, who he belongs to, what is his family, by 
whom he is surrounded, and think on the remedy (of his worldliness). 38 It is a king, O Rama, who 
well knows the difficult and doubtful state of the business, and his success or failure depends solely 
on his right judgment and on nothing else. 39 It is the sayings and information established by the Vedas 
and the Vedanta that form the grounds of our evidence, and these are to be ascertained by our reason 
as by the help of a lamp in the gloom of night. 

40 The bright eyesight of reason, even when it has to view things at a distance, is neither blinded by 
darkness nor dimmed by the full blaze of daylight. 41 He who is blind to reason is like one born blind. 
A demented man is an object of universal pity, but a man with a reasoning soul is said to be 
possessed of divine eyesight and becomes victorious in all things. 42 The miraculous power of reason 
is acknowledged to be a divine attribute and an instrument to highest joy. Therefore it is not to be lost 
sight of, even for a moment. 

43 A man graced by reason is loved even by the great, just as the delicious and ripe mango fruit is 
delicious to all. 44 Men with their minds illuminated by the light of reason are like travelers 

acquainted with their way. They are not liable to pitfalls of constant danger and misery. 45 Neither a 
sick man nor one beset by a hundred evils wails as bitterly as an ignorant man whose soul is deprived 
of reason. 46 Rather leap like a frog in mud, or creep like a worm in the dirt, or lie like a snake in a 
dark hole or crawl on the ground than walk like a man devoid of reason. 

47 Therefore get rid of unreasonableness which is the home of all your dangers, is condemned by the 
wise, and is the end of all your disasters. 48 Great men must always be in full possession of their 
reasoning, because those unsupported by their reason are liable to fall into the pits of darkness. 49 Let 
everyone keep his soul under the control of his own reason and by this means deliver the deer of his 
mind from falling into the mirage of this world. 

50 It is the province of reasoning to consider logically that it is in one's own self that the evil known 
as worldliness had its rise. 51 The thick mist of error is only for the continued misery of man, and it 
prevails on the stony minds of those who are demented by the loss of reason. 52 Even the wise who 
hold fast to the truth and forsake all untruth in this world are unable to discern their true nature 
without the aid of reason. 53 It is by means of reason that one comes to the knowledge of truth, and by 
means of truth that he gets peace of mind, and it is tranquility of mind that dispels the misery of men. 

54 Now Rama, take delight in such acts as may be productive of utility to the world, and whereby you 
may arrive to perfection. Weigh all things with the clear eye of reason, which will make you blessed 

Chapter 15 — On Contentment 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

Contentment (the third gate-keeper) is the chief good. Contentment is called (true) enjoyment, and the 
contented man, O destroyer of enemies, gets the best repose. 2 Those who are happy with their 
prosperity of contentment and possess the calm repose of their souls are like holy saints. They think a 
kingdom no better than a bit of rotten straw. 

3 Whoever retains a contented mind amidst all the affairs of the world is never disturbed or dejected 
in adverse circumstances, O Rama. 4 The saints who are satisfied with the ambrosial drink of 
contentment consider the greatest wealth and enjoyments to be only poison. 5 Even the waves of liquid 
nectar fail to afford that pleasure which the sweetest taste of contentment, the healer of all evils, gives 
to its owner. 

6 Abandonment of unfruitful desires, and calmness in those desires that are obtained, feeling no pain 
and having no sense of pleasure, constitute what is called contentment here below. 7 Until the mind 
can enjoy contentment rising of itself spontaneously in the soul, troubles will continue to grow like 
briars and brambles in a bog. 8 The mind cooled by calm contentment and purified by the light of 
philosophy is always in its full bloom like a lotus under sunbeams. 

9 An ungoverned mind, subject to desires and devoid of contentment, does not receive the light of 
knowledge, like a soiled mirror takes no reflection of the face. 10 A man whose mind is always bright 
with the sunshine of contentment does not shrivel like a lotus in the dark night of ignorance. n A man 
devoid of diseases and anxieties, whose mind is content though he be thoroughly poor, enjoys the 
happiness of a supreme ruler. 1 2 He is called contented who does not long after what he does not 
possess, who enjoys what he has in its right manner, and who is always graceful in his manners. 

13 There is a beauty that shines in the face of one whose mind has the satisfaction of contentment. His 
face has a fullness of magnanimity and a purity of thoughts like that of the Milky Ocean. 

14 Let a man rely on his manly efforts and entertain self control within himself to abandon his craving 
for things. l 5 He whose mind is full with the ambrosia of contentment and a calm and cool 
understanding acquires a perpetual composure within himself, like cooling moonbeams. 16 All great 
fortunes wait upon him whose mind is strengthened by contentment, as if they were servants attending 
a king. 17 One remaining content and composed in himself quells all his anxieties and cares, like the 
rains settle the dust of the earth. 

18 Rama, a man shines by the contentment of his mind and the purity of his conduct, like the cooling 
and spotless moon when she is full. 19 No one receives so much delight from his accumulation of 
wealth as he derives from the sight of the beautiful placid countenance (of a contented person). 
20 Know, O delight of Raghu's race, that the gods and the sages honor most those best of men who are 
decorated with grace of equanimity. 

Chapter 16 — On the Company of the Virtuous and Good Conduct 

1 Vasishta resumed saying: — 

Know, O highly intelligent Rama, that the company of the virtuous (the fourth gate-keeper) is 
everywhere of the greatest benefit to men for their crossing over the ocean of the world (samsara). 

2 It is the tree of virtuous company (satsanga) that produces the fresh blossom of discrimination 
which, being cherished by men with great souls, yields its fruit of prosperity. 3 The society of the 
learned makes solitude appear as company, and the evil of death as good as a festivity, and converts a 
difficulty to ease. 

4 The society of the virtuous wards off all disasters which, like the frost, invade the lotus beds of our 
hearts. The society of the virtuous baffles the icy breath of ignorance. 5 Know that the society of the 
virtuous is the best way to improve understanding, destroy the tree of ignorance, and remove all our 
mental diseases. 6 The society of the virtuous produces the light of reason, which is as charmingly fair 
as a cluster of flowers after being washed by rainwater. 7 The influence of virtuous company teaches 
us the best way of living, which is never impaired or obstructed by anything and is ever full in itself. 

8 Let no man ever keep himself from the association of the virtuous, even though he is involved in 
utmost distress and cast in irremediable circumstances. 9 The society of the virtuous lends a light to 
the right path. It destroys a man's internal darkness by the rays of the sun of knowledge. 10 Whoever 
has bathed in the cold, clear stream of good company does not need the merit derived from acts of 
charity, pilgrimage, austerity or sacrifice. n Of what use is austerity or pilgrimage to one who has the 
society of virtuous men and whose life is free from passions, sins, doubts and knots (of scruples in the 

12 Blessed are the peaceful in their minds who people regard with as much devotion as poor men dote 
fondly upon gems and jewels. 13 An intelligent mind with its gracefulness derived from good company 
always shines like the goddess of riches in the company of fairy nymphs. 14 Therefore that blessed 
man who never abstains from the company of the holy is renowned as having attained the crown of 
clear understanding. 15 Hence all uncompromising believers, holy men and those who are revered by 
people are to be served by all means for crossing over the ocean of the world. 

16 The company of the saints is like rainwater that extinguishes the flames of hell. Surely those who 
neglect the company of the saints serve as dry fuel to hell-fire. 1 7 The medicine of holy association 
serves to allay entirely all the afflictions consequent to poverty and death and all tribulations of 
worldly affairs. 

18 Contentment, society of the virtuous, the practice of reasoning, and remaining undisturbed comprise 
the means for mankind to cross over the ocean of the world. 19 Contentment is reckoned to be the best 
gain, good company the right course, reasoning the true knowledge, and remaining undisturbed the 
highest bliss. 20 These are the four surest means to break off the shackles of the world, and whoever is 
practiced in these has surely passed over the false waters of terrestrial sea. 

21 Learn, O best of the intelligent, that the practice of any one of these pure virtues leads to a habit of 
all four. 22 Every one of these separately is a leader to the others. Therefore apply yourself diligently 
to one of these for your success in getting them all. 

23 Association with the good, contentment, right reasoning, and good judgment, joined with peace and 
tranquility, serve as cargo-ships in the ocean of the world. 24 A11 prosperity attends on him who is 
possessed of reason, contentment, peacefulness and the habit of keeping good company, like the fruit 
of the wish- fulfilling kalpa tree. 25 The man possessed of reasoning, contentment, tranquility and a 
proclivity to keep good company is attended by every grace, as all the digits unite in the Ml moon. 

26 The happy mind filled with contentment, quietness, reasoning power, and a tendency towards good 
company meets with prosperity and success, much like kings guided by good ministers. 

27 Therefore, O delight of Raghu's race, bravely govern your mind and always diligently practice 
some one of these virtues. 28 Exert your best courage to subdue your elephantine mind. Know that until 
you have mastered one of these cardinal virtues, you can make no progress. 29 It must be, O Rama, that 
you must set your heart to work by the exertion of your courage and the gnashing of your teeth in order 
to succeed in meritorious deeds. 30 For whether you be a god, yaksha nature spirit, man, or tree, you 
cannot, O long-armed Rama, have a better course until you master one of these qualities. 

31 As soon as one of these virtues is strengthened and made fruitful in you, it will serve to weaken the 
force of the faults of your uncontrollable mind. 32 The cultivation of virtues leads to their Ml growth 
and the suppression of vice, but the fostering of vice will lead to the increase of vices and the 
suppression of good qualities. 

33 The mind is a wilderness of errors in which the stream of our desires flows with Ml force between 
its two banks of good and evil where we hold our stand. 34 It bears away and throws a man on the 
bank which he strives to reach by his own efforts. Therefore O Rama, do as you like to reach either 
shore. 35 Now with all the exertion of your manly force, try by degrees to turn the course of your 
desires towards the happy shore in the forest of your mind. Know, O high-minded Rama, that one's 
own disposition is like a rapid current that must not be permitted to bear him away (to the perilous 

Chapter 17 — On the Contents of the Yoga Vasishta 

1 Thus, O progeny of Raghu, a reasoning soul is worthy of attending to the words of wisdom, just as a 
prince (is inclined to listen) to a discourse on polity. 2 A clear and high-minded man who has 
renounced the company of stupid folks is capable of fair reasoning, just like the clear sky has the 
capacity of receiving moonlight. 3 You who are replete with the entire grace of such quality should 
now attend to the words that I say to remove the errors of your mind. 4 Only he whose tree of merit is 
bending down with its load of fruit will be interested to hear these words for the sake of his salvation. 

5 It is only the noble minded, and not the base, who are receptacles of grand and holy sermons 
conferring the knowledge of their future state. 

6 This collection of thirty-two thousand couplets (slokas, verses of two lines each) is judged to 
contain the essence of the means to liberation and to confer the final annihilation (of our being). 7 As a 
lamp presents its light to every waking man, so does this work effect the ultimate enlightenment of 
every person whether he would like it or not. 8 One's knowledge of this work, whether by his own 
perusal or hearing about it from others' repetition, tends to the immediate obliteration of his errors 
and to the increase of his delight, as if done by the holy river of heaven (Ganges). 9 As the fallacy of 
mistaking a rope for a snake is removed by examining it, so the fallacy of the reality of the world is 
removed by reading and studying this work, which gives peace to one who is vexed and tired of the 

I ° It contains six books all filled with sentences full of reason, each distinct from the other in its 
import. It has many couplets containing chosen examples on all subjects. 

II The first book (Vairagya Prakaranam, Chapter on Detachment) treats of detachment and causes the 
growth of apathy (in the mind) like a tree growing in desert soil. 1 2 It contains one thousand five 
hundred stanzas which, being well considered in the mind, must impart a purity like the luster of a 
gem after it is polished. 

1 3 The next book (Mumukshu Vyavahara Prakaranam , Chapter Concerning the Qualities of the 
Aspirant for Liberation) dwells on the conduct of one longing after his liberation, and contains a 
thousand couplets arranged in judicious order. 14 It describes the nature of men desiring their 

Then follows the third book (Utpatti Prakaranam, Chapter on Creation) on the creation of the world, 
filled with stories and examples. 15 It has seven thousand couplets teaching sound philosophy about 
the spectator and spectacle of the world in the forms of "I" and "y° u "> designated the ego and non- 
ego. 16 It contains a description of how the world was produced from its state of non-existence. A 
diligent attention to this chapter will convey a full knowledge of this world to the mind of the listener. 

17 This ego and non-ego, and this vast expanse with all the worlds, space and mountains, are to be 
seen as having no form or foundation as there are no such things. 18 There are no elements such as the 
earth and others. They exist only as the fabrications of our minds. They are like phantoms appearing in 
a dream, or like castles in the air. 19 ~ 20 They resemble hills moving on the shore to one passing in a 
boat, or like hobgoblins appearing to an unsound mind. Such is the appearance of the world which has 
no seed, source or origin of its own. 

21 It is like the impression of a tale in the mind, or the sight of a chain of pearls in the sky, or taking a 
bracelet for its gold, or a wave for the water. 22 Creation is just like the blue of the sky, always 
apparent to sight, charming to behold, yet never real, there being no color in it. 2 3 Thus whatever 
unreal wonders appear to us in our dreams or in the sky, they are only like a fire in a picture that only 
seems to be burning and has no fire in it. 

2 4 The word jagat (all that moves, the universe) is appropriately applied to the transitory world, 
which passes like the sea with its heaving waves, appearing as a dancing chain of lotus flowers. 25 It 
is (as false) as imagining a body of water from the sound of geese, and as useless as a withered forest 
in autumn when leaves and fruit fall off and the trees yield neither shade nor luscious nutriment. 26 It is 
full of delirious cravings like men at the point of death, and is as dark as caverns in the mountains. 
Hence the efforts of men are only acts of their frenzy. 

27 It is belter to dwell in the clear sky of the autumn harvest of philosophy, after the frost of ignorance 
has subsided, than to view this world which is no more than an image on a post or a picture on a wall. 

28 Know all conscious and unconscious things are made of dust. 

Next follows the fourth book on Existence {Sthiti Prakaranam). 29 It contains three thousand couplets 
full of explanations and stories showing the existence of the world to be a form of the essence of the 
spectator ego. 30 It describes how the spectator (ego) manifests as the spectacle (non-ego), and how 
the ten- sided sphere of the garden of the world manifests both as subjective and objective (at the same 
time). 31 It has thus arrived at its development which is said to be everlasting. 

Next follows the fifth book on peacefulness (Upashanti Prakaranam) consisting of five thousand 
couplets. 32 The fifth is styled the book on holiness, containing a series of excellent lectures and 
demonstrating the false conception of the world, as "I", "you" and "he" (as distinct existences). 33 The 
suppression of this error forms the subject of this book. Hearing this chapter on peacefulness serves 
to put an end to our reincarnations in this world. 

34 After suppression of the train of errors, there still remain slight vestiges of it, to a hundredth part, 
just as a picture of soldiers gives us some faint idea of soldiers. 35 Aiming at the object of another 
person is as vain as looking at the beauty of an imaginary city, or sitting in expectation of an 
unattainable object. It is like noisily fighting for something in sleep. 36 It is as vain as a man whose 
desires are not subdued, bursting into a roaring like that of the loud and tremendous thunder-claps. It 
is like building a city on the model of effaced impressions from a dream. 3 7 It is as vain as an 
imaginary city, with gardens, flowers and fruit growing in it. It is like a sterile woman bragging of the 
valorous deeds of her unborn and imaginary sons. 38 It is like a painter about to draw the chart of an 
imaginary city on the ground who has forgotten to sketch a plan beforehand. 3 9 It is as vain as 
expecting evergreen foliage and fruit in all seasons, and the breeze of an arbor that has not grown or a 
future ornamental garden, pleasant with the sweets of spring. 

40 Then follows the sixth book entitled annihilation {Nirvana Prakaranam), which is as clear as the 
waters of a river after its waves have subsided. 41 It contains the remaining number of couplets {i.e., 
the remaining 14,500 couplets of the 32,000 total that is the entire work). Knowledge of these verses 
is pregnant with great meaning. Their understanding leads to the chief good of utter extinction and 

pacification of desires. 42 The intellect that is separated from all its objects presents the manifestation 
of the soul, full of intelligence and free from all impurity. It is enveloped in the sheath of infinite void 
and is wholly pure and devoid of worldly errors. 

43 Having finished its journey through the world and performed its duties here, the soul assumes a 
calmness like that of the unbreakably hard column of the sky reflecting the images of the tumultuous 
world (without changing itself). 44 It rejoices exceedingly at being delivered from the innumerable 
snares of the world, and it becomes as light as air by being freed from its desire of looking after 
endless objects. 45 The soul that takes no notice of any cause or effect or doing, or what is to be 
avoided or accepted, is said to be disembodied though encumbered with a body, and to become 
unworldly in its worldly state. 

46 An intelligent soul is compared to a solid rock, compact and without any gap in it. It is the sun of 
intelligence which enlightens all people and dispels the darkness of ignorance. 47 An ordinary soul, 
though so very luminous, has become grossly darkened by being confined to the vile fooleries of the 
world and wasted by the malady of its cravings. 48 When freed from the imaginary monster of its 
egoism, a soul becomes incorporeal, even in its embodied state, and beholds the whole world as if it 
were placed on the point of one of a multitude of hairs, or like a bee sitting on a flower upon Sumeru 
Mountain. 49 An intelligent and empty soul contains and beholds in its sphere a thousand glories of the 
world, shining in each atom, as it was in a mirror. 

50 It is not even possible for thousands of Vishnus, Shivas and Brahmas to equal the great minded sage 
in the extent of his comprehensive soul because the liberated have their chief good stretched to a far 
greater limit than any. 

Chapter 18 — The Effect of the Yoga Vasishta; Its Similes & Examples 

1 Vasishta said: — 

The previous parts of this work, as already related, give rise to understanding like seeds sown in a 
good field never fail to produce a good harvest. 

2 Even human compositions are acceptable when they instruct good sense because men are always 
required to abide by reason. Otherwise, the Vedas should be renounced as unreliable. 3 Words that 
conform to reason are to be received even if spoken by children. Otherwise they are to be rejected as 
straw even if they are pronounced by the lotus-born Brahma himself. 

4 Whoever drinks from a well because it was dug by his ancestors, but who rejects the holy water of 
the Ganges even when placed before him, is an incorrigible simpleton. 

5 As early dawn is invariably accompanied by light, so is good judgment an inevitable attendant on 
the perusal of this work. 6 Whether these lessons are heard from the mouth of the learned or well 
studied by oneself, they gradually will make their impressions upon the mind by constant reflection on 
their sense. 7 They will first furnish a variety of Sanskrit expressions, and then spread before him a 
series of holy and judicious maxims, like so many ornamental vines that decorate a hall. 8 They will 
produce a cleverness joined with such qualifications and greatness as to engage the good grace of 
gods and kings. 

9 They are called intelligent who know the cause and effect of things. They are likened to a torch- 
bearer who is clear sighted in the darkness of the night. l ° All false and covetous thoughts become 
weaker by degrees, just as the sky is cleared of mist at the approach of autumn. 

11 Your thoughts require only the guidance of reason, as every action needs be duly performed to make 
it successful. 12 The intellect becomes as clear as a great lake in autumn and it gets its calmness like 
that of the sea after its churning by Mandara Mountain. 13 Like the flame of a chandelier cleansed of 
its soot and dispelling the shroud of darkness, refined intellect distinguishes things and shines forth in 
full brightness. 

14 The evils of penury and poverty cannot overpower those whose strong sight can discern the evils of 
their opposites (wealth and riches), just like no dart can pierce the mortal parts of a soldier clad in 
full armor. 15 No worldly fears can daunt the heart of a wise man, however near they may approach 
him, just as no arrow can pierce a huge solid stone. 16 Such doubts as "whether it is destiny or our 
own merit that is the cause of our births and actions" are removed, just as darkness is dispelled by 

17 There is a calm tranquility attending the wise at all times and in all conditions. So also does the 
light of reason, like solar rays, follow the dark night of error. 18 A man of right judgment has a soul as 
deep as the ocean and as firm as a mountain, and a cool serenity always shines within him like that of 

19 He who arrives slowly at what is called "living-liberation," who remains calm amid the endless 
turmoil, and who is quite aloof from common talk 20 has a mind that is calm and cool at everything. It 
is pure and full of heavenly light, shining serenely like moonlit night in autumn. 2 1 When the sun of 

reason illuminates the cloudless region of the mind, no ominous comet of evil can make its 
appearance. 22 All desires are at rest with the elevated. They are pure with the steady and indifferent 
to the inert, like a body of light clouds in autumn. 

23 The slanders of envious ill-wishers are put out of mind (by the wise), just like the frolics of night 
demons disappear at the approach of day. 24 A mind fixed on the firm basis of virtue and placed under 
the burden of patience is not to be shaken by accidents but remains like a plant in a painting. 2 5 A 
knowing man does not fall into the pitfalls that lie all about in the affairs of this world. Who that 
knows the way will walk into a ditch? 2 6 The minds of the wise are as delighted in acting in 
accordance with the instructions of good books and the examples of the virtuous as chaste women are 
fond of keeping themselves within their inner apartments. 

2 7 The detached philosopher views each of the innumerable millions of atoms that compose this 
universe in the light of it being a world. 28 The man whose mind is purified by a knowledge of the 
precepts of liberation neither regrets nor rejoices at the loss or gain of the objects of enjoyment. 
29 Men of unfettered minds look upon the appearance and disappearance of every atomic world as the 
fluctuating wave of the sea. 3 ° They neither grieve at unwished- for occurrences nor pine for their 
wished- for chances. Knowing well all accidents are the consequences of their actions, they remain as 
unconscious as trees. 

3 1 These holy men appear just like ordinary people. Their minds remain unconquered and they live 
upon what they get, whether they receive any manner of welcome or unwelcome. 3 2 They having 
understood the whole of this scripture, and having read and considered it well, hold their silence like 
a curse or blessing (which is never uttered by saints). 

33 This scripture is easy to be understood and it is ornamented with figures of speech. It is a poem full 
of flavors and embellished with beautiful similes. 34 One who has a slight knowledge of words and 
their meanings may be self taught in it, but he who does not understand the meanings well should learn 
from a pundit. 35 After hearing, thinking and understanding this work, one has no more need to practice 
austerities or meditation or repeating mantras or performing other rites. A man requires nothing else 
in this world for the attainment of his liberation. 3 6 By deep study of this work and its repeated 
perusal, a man attains an uncommon scholarship and the purification of his soul. 

37 The ego and the non-ego, that is, the viewer and the viewed, are both only imaginary monsters of 
the imagination. Only their annihilation leads to the vision of the soul. 38 The error of the reality of 
ego and the perceptible world will vanish away like visions in a dream, for who that knows the 
falsehood of dreams will fall into the error (of taking them for truth)? 39 As an imaginary palace gives 
no joy or grief to anyone, the false conception of the world is the same. 

40 Just like nobody is afraid of a painting of a serpent, to one who knows, the sight of a living serpent 
neither terrifies nor pleases. 41 Our knowledge of a picture removes our fear of a painted serpent. Our 
conviction of the unreality of the world must disperse our mistake of a snake's existence. 

4 2 Even the plucking of a flower or tearing of its leaflet requires a little effort, but no exertion 
whatever is required to gain the blessed state. 43 Plucking or pulling off a flower involves an action of 
the body, but with yoga there is no physical action. You only have to fix your mind. 44 It can be 

practiced with ease by anyone sitting in his easy seat and fed with his usual food who is not addicted 
to gross pleasures or breaching the rules of good conduct. 45 You can derive happiness from your own 
observations at any place and time, as you can from your association with the good whenever it is 
available. This is an optional rule. 

46 These are the means of gaining a knowledge of the highest wisdom, conferring peace in this world, 
and saving us from the pain of being reborn in the womb. 47 Those who are afraid of this course and 
are addicted to the vicious pleasures of the world are to be reckoned as too base, no better than feces 
and worms in their mother's bowels. 

48 Attend now, Rama, to what I am going to say in another way with regard to advancing in knowledge 
and improving one's understanding. 49 Hear now a new method in which this scripture is learned, and 
its true sense interpreted to people by means of its exposition. 

50 A simile or example serves to explain the unapparent meaning of a passage by illustration with 
something that is well known and which may be useful to help understanding. 5 l It is hard to 
understand a meaning without an example, just as it is useless to have a lamp-stand at home without 
setting a lamp on it at night. 52 The similes and examples I have used to make you understand are all 
derived from some cause or other, but they lead to knowledge of the uncaused Brahma. 53 Whenever 
comparisons and compared objects are used to express cause and effect, they apply to all cases 
except Brahma (who is without a cause). 

5 4 The examples that explain the nature of Brahma are to be taken in their partial sense. 5 5 The 
examples given to explain divine nature are to be understood as referring to a world seen in a dream. 
56 In such cases, no material example can apply to the incorporeal Brahma, and no optional and 
ambiguous expression can give a definite idea of him. 

5 7 Those who find fault with examples of an imperfect or contradictory nature cannot blame our 
comparison of the appearance of the world to a vision in dream. 

58 Earlier and later developments of this non-entity (the world) are considered to exist in the present 
moment. Waking and dreaming states are known from our boyhood. 5 9 The comparison of the 
existence of the world with the dreaming state is exact in all instances because our desires, thoughts, 
pleasures and displeasures, and all other acts are the same in both states. 60 This work and all others 
composed by other authors on the means of salvation have pursued the same plan in their explanation 
of the knowable. 61 The resemblance of the world to a dream is found also in the scriptures and the 
Vedanta. It is not to be explained in a word, but requires a continued course of lectures. 62 Such 
writings also cite comparisons of the world to the images in a dream or an imaginary paradise of the 
mind in preference to other similes. 

63 Whenever a causality is shown by a simile of something which is no cause, there the simile is 
applied in some particular and not all its general attributes. 6 4 The partial similarity of this 
comparison with some property of the compared object is unhesitatingly acknowledged by the learned 
in all their illustrations. 

65 When the light of the senses is compared with a lamp, the reference is to brightness only and not its 
stand, holder, oil or wick. 66 The compared object is to be understood in its capacity of admitting a 

partial comparison, as in the instance of sense and light. The simile consists in the brightness of both. 
6 7 When the knowledge of a knowable thing is derived from some particular property of the 
comparison, it is the subject of a suitable simile in order to understand the sense of some great saying. 

68 We must not overshadow our intellect by bad logic, or set at nothing our common sense by an 
unholy skepticism. 

69 We have by our reasoning well weighed the verbosity of our opinionative adversaries and never 
set aside the holy sayings of the Vedas, even when they are at variance with the opinions of our 
families. 70 O Rama, we have stored in our minds the truths resulting from the unanimous voice of all 
the scriptures, whereby it will be evident that we have attained the object of our belief, apart from the 
fabricated systems of heretical scriptures. 

Chapter 19 — Interpretation of Comparisons in the Yoga Vasishta 

1 It is the similarity of some particular property that constitutes a simile. A complete similarity 
between the comparison and the compared object destroys their difference. 2 From the knowledge of 
parables follows an awareness of the one soul that is discussed in the scriptures (Vedanta). The peace 
that attends reflection on the holy word is called extinction {nirvana). 

3 Therefore it is useless to talk of either complete or partial agreement between example and the 
exemplar. It is enough for the purpose of the comparison to comprehend the meaning of the holy word 
in some way or other. 4 Know your peace to be the chief good and be diligent to secure it. When you 
have food to eat, it is useless to talk about how you came by it. 5 A cause is compared with something 
that has no cause at all, and a comparison is given to express its partial agreement in some respect 
with the compared object. 

6 We must not be so absorbed in the pleasures of the world as to be devoid of all sense, like some 
blind frogs that generate and grow fat amidst rocks. 7 Be attentive to these parables and learn your 
best state from them For their internal peace, all reasonable men should abide by the lessons of 
religious works, by the teachings of the scriptures, by the rules of humanity, prudence and spiritual 
knowledge, and by the continued practice of acts of religious merit. 9 Let the wise continue their 
inquiries until they obtain their internal peace and until they arrive at the fourth stage (turiya) of joy 
known by its name of indestructible tranquility. 10 Whoever has attained this fourth state of tranquil 
joy, whether he is alive or not, or a house-holder or an ascetic, has really passed beyond the limits of 
the ocean of the world. n Such a man remains steady at his place like the calm sea undisturbed by 
Mandara Mountain, whether he has performed his duties according to the scriptures and codes of 
ethics or not. 

12 When there is a partial agreement of the comparison with the nature of the compared object, it is to 
be considered maturely for the well understanding of the point in question and not to be made a matter 
of controversy. 13 From every form of argument you are to understand the intelligible. The confused 
disputant is blind both to right and false reasoning. 

14 The notion of self (soul or God) is self-evident within the consciousness of the mind. Anyone who 
prattles meaninglessly about this truth is said to be defective in his understanding. 1 5 It is partly by 
pride and partly by their doubts that the ignorant are led to argue about their perceptions, and thereby 
they obscure the region of their inner understanding, just like clouds obscure the clear sky. 

16 The evidence of perception forms the fountain-head of all sorts of proofs, just like the sea is the 
mainspring of all its waters. It is this alone which is used in this place, as you shall learn below. 

17 The wise say that substance of all sensations is super-conscious apprehension, and it is truly their 
right concept which is meant by their perception. 18 Thus the notion, knowledge and certainty of things 
as derived from words are called the triple perception of the living soul. 

19 This soul is consciousness. The ego with its cognition of the objects as manifested to us is called a 
category (i.e., dualist; viz. samvid, samvitti and padartha) 20 Consciousness manifests in the form of 
the passing world by the multiplicity of acts and the shifts of its volition and choices, just like water 
exhibits itself in the shapes of waves and bubbles. 21 It was not caused before, then it developed itself 

as the cause of everything in its act of creation at the beginning of creation, and it became perceptible 
by itself. 22 Causation is a product of the discrimination of the living soul, previously in a state of non- 
existence, until it became manifest as existent in the form of the material world. 

23 Reason says that the same being that destroys the body also produced it of itself and manifests itself 
in its transcendental magnitude (of intelligence). 24 When a man, through the exercise of his reason, 
comes to know the soul, he finds before him the presence of the indescribable being. 2 5 The mind 
being free from desire, the organs of sense are relieved from their action and the soul becomes devoid 
of the results of its past actions. 26 The mind being set at ease and freed from its desires, the organs of 
action are restrained from their acts, like an engine stopped in its motion. 

27 Sensuousness is reckoned as the cause that puts the machinery of the mind to work, just as a rope 
tied to a log and fastened about the neck of a ram propels him to fight. 28 The sight of external objects 
and the purposes of the internal mind set all men at play, just like the inner force of air puts wind in 

29 All spiritual knowledge is holy wherever it is found in anyone. It adds a luster to the body and mind 
like that of the expanded region of the sky. 30 He sees the appearances of all visible objects and 
maintains his own position among them. He views the spirit in the same light in which it presents 
itself in anyplace. 31 Wherever the Universal Soul appears itself in any light, it remains there and then 
in the same form in which it exhibits itself to us. 32 The Universal Soul being alike in all, the looker 
and the object seen are both the same being. The looker and the looked being one, their appearance as 
otherwise is all unreal. 

33 Hence the world is without a cause. All existence is evidently Brahma himself, the perceptible 
cause of all. Hence perception is the basis of evidence, and inference and others as analogy and 
verbal testimony are only parts of it. 

34 Now let the worshippers of fate who apply the term "destiny" to all their efforts cast off their false 
faith and let the brave exert their courage to attain their highest state. 35 Continue, O Rama, to consider 
the true and lucid doctrines of successive teachers until you can arrive at a clear conception of the 
infinitely Supreme Being in your own mind. 

Chapter 20 — On Wisdom & Good Conduct 

1 It is reasoning in the company of the respectable that leads most efficiently to the improvement of the 
understanding, and then to the making of a great man who has all the characteristics of greatness. 

2 Whatever man excels in any quality, that distinguishes him. Therefore learn and improve your 
understanding from him 

3 True greatness consists in quietness and other virtues. Without a knowledge of this it is impossible, 
O Rama, to be successful in anything. 4 Learning produces quiet and other qualities and increases the 
virtues of good people. All this is praised because of their good effects on the mind, just like the rain 
is praised for growing new sprouts. 5 The qualities of quietude and other virtues serve to increase the 
best knowledge, just like a sacrifice with rice serves to produce blissful rains for the harvest. 6 As 
learning produces the qualities of quiet and the like, so do these qualities give rise to learning. Thus 
they serve to grow each other, just as lake and lotuses contribute to their mutual benefit. 7 Learning is 
produced by right conduct as good conduct results from learning. Thus wisdom and morality are 
natural helps to one another. 

8 An intelligent man who is possessed of quietude, meekness and good conduct, should practice 
wisdom and follow the ways of good people. 9 Unless one practices wisdom and good conduct in an 
equal degree, he will never be successful in either of them 10 Both of these should be joined together 
like the song united with percussion, or like the farmer and his wife sowing seeds and driving away 
the birds. n It is by practice of wisdom and right conduct that good people are enabled to acquire 
both in an equal degree. 

12 1 have already expounded to you, O Rama, the rule of good conduct. Now I will explain to you fully 
the way of gaining learning. 

13 Learning leads to fame, long life and the acquisition of the object of your exertion. Therefore the 
intelligent should learn the good sciences from those who have studied and mastered them. 1 4 By 
hearing (these lectures) with a clear understanding, you will surely attain the state of perfection, just 
like dirty water is purified by infusion of kata fruit. 

15 A sage who has known the knowable has his mind drawn imperceptibly to the state of bliss. Once 
known and felt, the impression of that highest state of unbounded joy is hard to loose at anytime. 


On Creation 

(Utpatti Khanda) 

This section deals with the origin and nature of the universe. According to Vasishta, this universe 
with its innumerable objects, its concepts of time and space, and its varied laws is only a creation 
of ones own mind. Just as the mind creates a world in the dream state, so it also creates an 
imaginary world in the waking state. The only difference between the dream and the waking states 
is that dreams are short and the waking state is relatively longer. Time and space are only ideas of 
the mind. Through the minds perception many thousands of years may pass as a moment, or a 
moment in time in the waking state may be experienced as years in the dream state. The same is 
true of the concept of space. All these facts are illustrated by a number of interesting and 
revealing stories. 

Chapter 1 — The Appearance of Creation Is from the Mind of Brahma 

1 It is through both words and lights (i.e., the words of the scripture and the lights of nature and 
reason) that the knower of the great god perceives the spirit of Brahma appearing within himself, like 
in a dream. He also knows him as such who understands him according to the holy text, "What this is, 
that is the self." 2 This passage shows, in short, the visible world at its creation residing in the empty 
bosom of Brahma. What this creation is, from where it arises, and how it becomes extinct in the end 
are now to be known in detail. 3 O intelligent Rama, now hear me expound to you all things according 
to my best knowledge and agreeably to their nature and substance in the order of creation. 

4 One conscious of himself as a spiritual and intelligent being views the passing world as a dream. 
This dream simile of the passing world applies equally to our knowledge of ego and non-ego. 5 After 
the book describing the conduct of the seekers of liberation (mumukshu-vyavahara) follows the book 
of evolution (utpatti, creation), which I am now going to propound to you. 

6 Bondage consists in our belief in the reality of the visible world. So our release depends on the 
negation of phenomena that are apparent to the senses. Now hear me tell you how to get rid of the 

7 Whoever is born in this world continues to progress until at last he obtains his final liberation (his 
ultimate perfection) or rises to heaven or falls into hell. 8 Therefore I shall expound for your 
understanding everything relating to the production and continuance of things, and their prior states as 
they were. 9 Now hear me, Rama, give you a brief abstract of this book. Later I will expand upon it so 
that you may know more of how creation is produced. 

10 Know that all that appears either as living or inert in this world are like appearances in a dream in 
the state of sound sleep (susupti) which becomes extinct at the end of an epoch (kalpa). n Then there 
remains a nameless and undeveloped something in a state of deep, dark and dank abyss, without any 
light or thick-spread (nebulae) over it. 12 The wise give this great self-existence the titles of Reality 
(rita), Self (atma), Supreme (param), Immense (brahma), Truth (satyam) and so forth as common 
expressions to refer to the Great Spirit (mahatmari). 

13 Then this same spirit shows itself in another form called the individual soul (jivatma), and comes 
afterwards to be understood in the limited sense of life. 14 This inert living principle (Jiva) becomes, 
just like the word suggests, the moving spirit, which afterwards with its power of thinking becomes 
the mind, and finally the embodied soul. 15 Thus the mind is produced and changed from the quiescent 
nature of the Great Supreme Spirit to a state of restlessness, like that of a surge heaving itself in the 

1 6 The mind soon evolves itself as a self-willing power that exercises its desires at all times and 
through which this extensive magic scene of the world is displayed for our view. This scene is 
figured as virajmurti, or the manifestation of desires from the will of Divine Mind. In the Indian 
genealogy of gods, it is represented as the offspring of Brahma. 

17 As the word 'golden bracelet' signifies nothing other than a bracelet made of gold, so the meaning 
of the word 'world' is not different from its source, the Divine Will. 18 Again as the word 'gold' 
bears the idea of the substance of which the bracelet is made, so the word 'Brahma' conveys the 

meaning of the immensity which contains the world. But the word 'world' contains no idea of 
Brahma, and neither does 'bracelet' convey the idea of gold. The substance contains the form just as a 
stone does the statue, but the form does not contain the substance. 

19 The unreality of the world appears as a reality, just as the heat of the sun presents an unreal mirage 
in the moving sands of the desert as real waves of the sea. 20 It is this fantasy which the learned in all 
things describe as ignorance (avidya), nature (sansriti), bondage (bandha), illusion (maya), error 
(moha), and darkness (tamas). 

2 1 Now hear me relate to you, O moon- faced Rama, about the nature of this bondage, whereby you 
will be able to know the mode and manner of our liberation from it. 

22 The intimate relation between spectator and spectacle is called his bondage because the spectator's 
mind is tightly bound to the object of his sight. Therefore, the absence of visible objects from the 
mirror of the mind is the only way to his liberation. 23 Knowledge of the world, which is thinking that 
individual existence is different from others, is said to be a false view of the soul. There can be no 
liberation as long as one labors under this blunder of the knowledge of separation. 24 To say that the 
soul is not this and not that is an endless false dispute over words. Discrimination between 
alternatives only serves to increase the ardor for objects. 

25 Truth is not to be obtained by philosophers chopping logic or by pilgrimage or ceremonial acts, any 
more than believing in the reality of the material world. 2 6 It is hard to avoid the sight of the 
phenomenal world and to repress one's ardor for it. But it is certain that phenomena can not lead us to 
Reality, and that the Real cannot mislead us to unreality. 

27 Wherever the invisible, inconceivable and intelligent spirit exists, there the beholder views the 
visible beauty of God shining even in the midst of atoms. 28 The phenomenal world has its rise from 
Him, yet ignorant people who depart from Him to the adoration of others resemble fools who forsake 
rice to feed upon gruel. 29 Although this visible world is apparent to sight, yet O Rama, it is only a 
shadow of that Being who resides alike in the smallest atom and in the mirror of the mind, who 
receives the image of the largest as well as the minutest things. 30 The spirit is reflected in everything 
like a figure in the mirror, and it shines equally in rocks and seas and in the land and water as it does 
in the mirror of the mind. 

3 1 The visible world is the scene of constant sorrows, births, decay and death. By turns the states of 
waking, dreaming and sound sleep present the gross, subtle and impermanent forms of things for our 
delusion. 32 Here I sit in a meditative mood, having wiped the impressions of phenomena from my 
mind, but my meditation is disturbed by the recurrence of my memories of phenomena. This is the 
cause of the endless reincarnations of the soul. 

33 It is hard to maintain meditation beyond form {nirvikalpa samadhi) when the sight of the visible 
world is present before our physical and mental vision. Even the fourth stage of turiy a — samadhi 
without sense in the state of deep sleep — is soon succeeded by self-consciousness and external 
awareness. 34 On rising from this state of deep meditation, one finds himself as if roused from sound 
sleep and he again sees the world full of all its sorrows and imperfections opening wide before him. 

35 Then, O Rama, what is the good of this transient bliss which one attains by temporary meditation, 

when he again becomes subject to his sense of the sufferings of the world, like a vale of tears? 36 But 
if one can attain a state of unalterable separation of his thoughts from all worldly objects, as he has in 
his state of deep sleep, then he is said to have reached the highest level of holiness on earth. 

37 Nobody has ever gained anything from reality with its scenes of unreal vanities because whenever 
his thoughts come in contact with any outward thing, he finds 'reality' inseparable from imperfect 
existence. 38 Should anybody forcibly withdraw his attention from phenomena and, for a while, fix his 
sight on a stone, afterwards he is sure to be carried away again by phenomena pressing upon his sight. 
39 It is well known to all that a yogi's practice of unflinching meditation, even if it has the firmness of 
a rock, cannot last owing to his worldly propensities. 40 Even steady meditation that has attained the 
fixedness of a rock cannot advance one step towards the attainment of that tranquility which has no 
limit. 4 l Thus the sight of phenomena being altogether unavoidable, it is a foolish to think that 
phenomena can be suppressed by practicing prayers and austerities and similar acts of tapas. 

42 The idea of the phenomena is as inherent in the mind of the spectator of the visible world as the 
seeds of the lotus flower are contained in its inner cells. 43 The ideal of the phenomenal world lies 
hidden in the minds of the spectators of the outer world, just like flavor and moisture are in fruit, oil 
is in sesame seeds, and sweet scent is innate in flowers. 44 Just like the fragrance of camphor and the 
smells of other substances are inherent in their nature, so the reflection of the visible world resides in 
the bosom of the intellect. 

45 As your dreams and desires rise and subside of themselves under the functioning of your intellect, 
so the idea of a thing always reoccurs to your mind from your original idea of that thing which has 
been impressed onto your mind, the seat of all that is visible. 46 The mental appearance of the visible 
world deludes its beholder in the same way a fantasy appearance of a ghost or hobgoblin misleads a 

47 The notion of the visible world gradually expands itself, like a seed that germinates in time, sprouts 
and spreads itself afterwards in the form of a plant. 48 As seeds and other minute life forms contained 
within the bosoms of fruit and the embryos of animals expand themselves to become wonderfully 
beautiful forms, so does the seed of this world lying hidden in the Divine Mind unfold itself into the 
wonderful forms of visible phenomena in nature. 

Chapter 2 — Description of the First Cause: Yama Explains Air-born Brahma to Death; Will 

without Form or Action 

1 Vasishta resumed: — 

Rama, now listen as I relate the story of Akasaja, the air-born brahmin, which will be precious to 
your ears and will enable you to better to understand the drift of this book of creation. 

2 There lived a brahmin named Akasaja who always sat reclined in his meditation and was ever 
inclined to do good to all creatures. 3 Finding him long-lived, Death thought to himself, "Only I am 
imperishable, and I devour all things one by one. 4 How is it that I cannot stuff myself with this air- 
born? I find my teeth as blunt on him as the edge of a sword on solid rock." 5 So thinking, he 
proceeded to the home of the brahmin intent upon making an end of him For who is not so dull in 
nature that he is not alert in his practice? 

6 But as Death was about to enter Akasaja' s house, he was opposed by a fire as powerful as that in the 
final destruction of the last day of the world's dissolution. 7 He passed through the flames and entered 
the house where, seeing the holy man before him, he greedily stretched out his hand to grab him. 

8 Even with his hundred hands, Death was unable to grasp the holy man, just as it is impossible for the 
strongest to withstand a determined man in his habitual course. 

9 Death then went to his lord, Yama, the god of the underworld, to answer his question why he could 
not devour the air-born being. 10 Yama explained, "Death, do not overly trust your own strength that 
enables you to destroy the living. It is the act of the dying person that is the chief cause of his death 
and nothing else. n Therefore, be diligent and find out about the acts of the person you intend to kill, 
because it is only with their assistance that you are able seize your prey." 

1 2 Thereupon Death gladly wandered about in all the places under the horizon. He roved over 
inhabited lands as he did throughout empty and river lands. l 3 He traversed forests and jungles, 
marshy and rocky grounds, and maritime coasts. He traveled to foreign lands and islands and pried 
through their wildernesses, cities and towns. 14 He searched through kingdoms and countries, villages 
and deserts. He surveyed the entire earth to find out some act of the brahmin or any part of it. 

15 At last Death, despite all his search and efforts, came to find the acts of air-born brahmin to be as 
nothing as the offspring of a barren woman, and brahmin's mind as fixed (in meditation) as if it were 
a rock. 

1 6 Then Death returned from his reconnoitering explorations to his all-knowing master Yama and 
sought his advice, as servants do in matters of doubt and difficulty. 17 Death addressed Yama saying, 
"Tell me my lord, where are the acts of the air-born brahmin to be found?" 

After much thought, Yama replied as follows. 18 "Know, O Death, that this air-born seer has no act 
whatever because he is born of empty air. Therefore his doings are all null and void. 19 Whoever is 
born of air is as pure as air itself and has no combination of cause or actions such as all embodied 
beings. 20 He has no relationship with acts of his prior existence. He is as nothing as the child of a 
barren woman, like one unborn, uncreated and un-begotten. 2 1 Want of causes has made him a pure 
empty being, and the lack of prior acts has made him as nothing as an ethereal tree." 

22 "Deprived of former acts, his mind is not ruffled like those of others, nor is there any act in his 
present state whereby he may become a morsel to death. 23 Such is the soul seated in the sheath of 
void, and remaining forever as the simple form of its own causality, and not guided by any extraneous 
causation whatever. 24 It has no prior deed, nor does it do anything at present, but continues as 
something like an intelligence with the form of air." 

2 5 "Our inference that the soul causes the actions of breathing and motion is a mere supposition 
because the soul is devoid of every thought or tendency towards action. 26 It sits meditating on itself 
as inseparable from the Supreme Intelligence, just as images are inseparable from the mind of the 
painter and sculptor. 27 The self-born Brahma is as intimately connected with the objects of his 
thought as fluidity is associated with water and the void with the sky. 28 His soul is as immanent in the 
Supreme as motion is inherent in the wind. It has neither the accumulated acts of past lives nor those 
of its present state. 29 It is produced without the cooperation of accompanying causes and being free 
from prior motives, it is not subjected to the sufferings that attend human life. 30 It is found to be 
nothing other than its own cause, and having no other cause for itself, it is said to be self-produced." 

31 "Say, how can you lay hold of a being who has done no act and is not in the act of doing anything at 
present? It is only subject to you when it thinks itself mortal. 32 You are easily able to take anyone 
who believes his soul to be of this earth and thinks himself to be an earthly being. 33 Because this 
brahmin disowns the material body, he is a formless being. Therefore it is as hard for you to enthrall 
him as it is to use a rope to tie the air." 

34 Death replied saying, "Tell me my lord, how may the unborn (aja) or the self-born (swayambhu) be 
produced out of vacuum, and how can an earthly or other elemental body both be and not be?" 

3 5 Yama replied, "This Brahman is neither born nor is nothing at anytime but remains the same 
forever, like the light of intelligence of which there is no decay. 36 Upon the end of creation, there 
remains nothing except the tranquil, imperishable and infinite Brahman himself in his spiritual form. 

37 This is the nature of the everlasting void, too subtle in its essence and devoid of all attributes, but 
viewing the present before its mind, the stupendous cosmos in the form of a huge mountain at the 
beginning of recreation." 

38 "Being of the nature of consciousness it is imperishable, but those who regard spirit to have any 
material body are liable to perish with it like all embodied beings. 3 9 Thus in the beginning this 
Brahman remained in his state of unalterable, empty consciousness in the womb of emptiness. 40 It is 
purely of the nature of empty understanding, and of the form of a vast expanse of omniscience. It has 
neither body nor organism, no act or agency, nor desire of any kind in itself." 

41 "That which is simply emptiness and pure light, unlike an embodied being, is never beset by the 
traps of new desires. 42 It has nothing to know or see without itself. The only conception that we can 
have of it is that it resembles an extended intelligence. 4 3 Under these circumstances, how is it 
susceptible to any earthly or other external form? Therefore, O Death, give up your attempts to lay 
hold of Brahman." 

44 Hearing these words from Yama, Death thought upon the impracticability of anyone laying hold on 
empty void and he sorrowfully returned to his own abode. 

45 Rama said, "Sage, you said that Brahma is your great father. I think you meant to say that your father 
is the unborn, self-born Universal Soul and consciousness." 

Vasishta speaking: — 

46 What I had described to you, Rama, is Brahma, and the previous story about the discussion between 
Death and Yama also regards Brahma. 

47 Again when Death over the course of a manvantara of time had made an end to all living beings, he 
thought himself strong enough to make an attempt to bear down upon the lotus-born Brahma also. 48 It 
was then that he was rebuked by Yama, saying, "It is your habit that makes you go on your accustomed 
course of killing. 49 But the super- ethereal form of Brahma is beyond your reach because it simply has 
of the nature of the mind, connected only with its thoughts and having no concern with the actual forms 
of things." 

5 ° Brahma is wonderfully empty consciousness having the faculty of thought. Thus consciousness, 
being only emptiness, has neither any cause that created it nor any effect created by it. 5 1 As the 
insubstantial principle of will in men manifests itself without being connected with material forms, so 
the self-born Brahma manifests to all in his own immaterial nature. 

52 Like strings of pearl appearing in a clear sky, and like the forms of cities seen in a dream, the self- 
born Brahma is manifest of himself without relation to external objects. 53 As there is no beholder or 
anything beholden of the solitary Supreme Spirit which is consciousness itself, so the mind manifests 
of itself. 54 It is the mind's capacity to will that is called Brahma. Will being a spiritual faculty, it has 
no connection with any material substance. 

55 As the mind of the painter is filled with images of various things, so the mind of Brahma is full of 
figures of all created beings. 56 The self-born Brahma is manifest in his own mind as Brahma is 
manifested in the empty sphere of his consciousness. He is without beginning, middle or end. He is 
described as having a male figure when, in reality and like the offspring of a barren woman, he has no 

Chapter 3 — Subtle & Gross Bodies; Formless Mind (Brahma) Wills the Appearance of Forms 

1 Rama said, "It is even so as you have said, that the mind is a pure essence and has no connection 
with the earth and other material substances. Mind is truly Brahma itself. 2 Now tell me, O holy one, 
why the memory of his former states does not cause his birth, as it is in the case of mine, yours and of 
all other beings." 

3 Vasishta replied: — 

Whoever had a former body, accompanied with the acts of his prior existence, necessarily retains its 
memories, which are the cause of his being reborn. 4 But when Brahman is known to have no prior 
act, how is it possible for him to have memory of anything? 5 Therefore he exists without any other 
cause except the causation of his own mind. It is by his own causality that the Divine Spirit is self- 
born, and is himself his own spirit. 6 He is everlasting. His body is born of itself from the self-existent 
Brahman. This unborn or self-born Brahma has no material body whatever, except his subtle spirit 
body (ativahika) or astral body (linga deha). 

7 Rama said, "The everlasting body is one thing and the mortal body is another. Now tell me sage 
whether all created beings have a subtle body like that of Brahma?" 

8 Vasishta replied: — 

All created beings produced of a cause have two bodies (subtle and gross). But the unborn being 
which is without a cause has only one body. 9 The uncreated Brahman is the cause of all created 
beings, but the uncreated spirit, having no cause for itself, has only one body. l ° The prime lord of 
creatures has no material body but manifests himself in the empty form of his spiritual body. 1 1 His 
body is composed of only mind and he has no connection with the earth or any other material 
substance. He is the first lord of creatures who stretched creation from his empty body. 

12 All creation is only forms of images or ideas in his empty mind. They have no other pattern or 
originality in their nature. It is a truth well known to everyone that everything is of the same nature 
with its cause. 

13 Brahma is a nonexistent being in the manner of perfect consciousness. He is purely a mind form. He 
is an intellectual entity, not material. 14 He is the prime cause of all material productions in the 
physical world, and he is born of himself with his prime mobile force in the form of the mind. 1 5 It 
was by the first impulse given by the prime moving power that this expanse of creation came to be 
spread in the same ratio as the currents of air and water are in proportion to the impetus given to 
them. 1 6 This creation shining so bright to our sight derives its light from the luminous mind of the 
formless Brahma, and it appears real to our conceptions. 

17 What we experience in dreams is the best illustration, like the enjoyment of sexual bliss in a dream. 
In a dream an unreal object of desire presents itself as an actual gain to our fond and false 

1 8 The empty, immaterial and formless spirit is described as the self-born and corporeal lord of 
creatures in the form of the first male. 19 He remains imperceptible in his state of pure consciousness, 
but becomes manifest to all by the evolution of his will. He cannot be discerned in his absolute state 

(of inaction), but becomes conspicuous to us in the display of his nature (in creation). 

20 Brahma is the divine power of will. He is personified as the first male agent of creation, but he is 
devoid of any physical body. He has only the spiritual form of the mind, and he is the sole cause of the 
existence of the three worlds. 

21 It is Brahma's will that makes the self-born exert his energies, just as human desires impel all 
mankind to action, and as the empty mind manifests itself as a mountain of desires. 22 Then it forgets 
its everlasting and incorporeal nature and assumes to itself a solid material body and shows itself in 
the shape of a deceptive apparition. 2 3 But Brahma, who is of an unsullied understanding, is not 
involved in forgetting himself. That occurs through the transformation of his unknowable nature to the 
known state of will. 24 Being unborn of material substance, he sees no appearance like others who are 
exposed by their ignorance to the misleading errors of falsehood that appear before them like a 

25 As Brahma is merely of the form of the mind, and not composed of any material substance, so the 
world being the product of the eternal mind is of the same nature as its original source. 26 Again, as 
the uncreated Brahma has no cause for himself, so his creation has no cause other than himself. 

27 Therefore there is no difference between product and its producer, and it is certain that the work 
must be as perfect as its author. 

28 There is nothing like cause and effect to be found in this creation because the three worlds are only 
prototypes of the archetype of the Divine Mind. 29 The world is stretched out in the model of the 
Divine Mind. It is not formed by any other holy spirit. Creation is as immanent in the mind of God as 
fluidity is inherent in water. 30 The mind spreads out this extended unreality of the world, like castles 
in the air, and builds paradise cities. 3 1 There is no such thing as materiality, which is as false a 
conception as mistaking a rope for a snake. Hence it is impossible for Brahma and other beings to 
exist as individual bodies. 

32 Even spiritual bodies are nonexistent to enlightened understanding. As for the material body, it has 
no room in existence. 33 Man (manu), who derives his name from his mind (manas), is a form of the 
will-soul called Virinchi (the Creator, a name of Brahma). His dominion is the mental or intellectual 
world (mano-rajyam) where all things appear in the form of realities. 34 The mind is the creative 
Brahma (virinchitvas) through the exercise of its inherent will (sankalpa, intent, volition) for 
beginning or creation. It displays itself in the form of the visible universe by development of its own 

35 This Creator or creative power is of the form of the mind, just like the mind itself is of the form of 
the Creator. Neither has any connection with any material substance, which is a mere creation of the 
imagination. 36 All visible things are contained in the bosom of the mind, just as the lotus blossom 
resides in the seed of the lotus. Hence there is no difference between the mental and visible 
appearances of things, nor has anyone anywhere ever doubted this. 

37 Whatever you see in a dream, whatever desires you have at heart, and all the ideals of your fancy, 
together with your ideas, notions and impressions of phenomena, know that it is your mind that is the 
receptacle for them all. 38 But the mind can choose to hold phenomena as desirable, making them as 

harmful to their beholder as an apparition is to a child. 39 The ideal of phenomena develops itself as 
the germ contained in the seed and, in its proper time and place, it becomes a large tree. 

40 If there is no rest with what is real, there can be no peace with phenomena that are Ml of troubles 
and give no solace to the mind. It is impossible for the feeling of the perception of phenomena to ever 
be lost to their perceiver, yet only its subsidence is said to constitute liberation. 

Chapter 4 — Nightfall; Creation of Objects 

I Valmiki describes: — 

While Vasishta, the leading sage, was speaking without interruption, the entire assembly was intent 
upon listening to him with a fixed tone and tenor of their minds. 2 The string of bells that warriors tie 
to their waists ceased to jingle. Everyone was motionless. Even the parrots in their cages ceased to 
warble or flutter. 3 The ladies forgot their dalliance and remained quietly attentive to the lecture. 
Everyone in the royal hall was fixed in attention as if they were paintings and statues. 

4 Only an hour remained before the closing of the day and the sunbeams became agreeable to all. The 
busy bustle of the world was dwindling away with the glimmering light of the setting sun. 5 The beds 
of full-blown lotuses exhaled their fragrance all around, and soft breezes were playing about, as if to 
attend the audience. 6 The sun glided away from his daily course and advanced to the top of the 
solitary mountain where it set, as if he meant to reflect on all that he had heard. 7 The shades of night 
began to cover the landscape. Frost began to spread over forest lands as if they were cooled by the 
cooling lectures on philosophy. 

8 Now people failed to gather in all directions, as if they had availed themselves of the sage's 
instructions to abate the fervor of their exertions. 9 All objects on earth cast their lengthened shadows, 
as if they were stretching their necks to hear Vasishta preaching. 1 ° Then the chamberlain humbly 
advanced to the monarch of the earth and begged to inform him that the time for the rituals of evening 
washing and service was about to expire. 

II Upon this, sage Vasishta stopped his sweet speech and said, "Let what has been said, mighty king, 
be all for this day. I will resume my lecture and speak of other things tomorrow." 

12 The sage held his silence, and the king responded, "Be it so as you will," and rose from his seat. 

13 For his own good he honored the godly sage and the other seers and brahmins with due respects and 
offerings of flowers, water, worthy honorary gift rewards, fees, gifts and homage. 1 4 Then rose the 
entire assembly with the king and the sages. The gems and jewels that decked princes and people shed 
their luster on the faces of all. 15 There was a commingled tinkling of bracelets and armlets as the 
throng mingled in their exit, mixed with the flashes of the necklaces and brocades that decorated their 
bodies. 16 The jewels attached to the tufts and crests of hair on the tops of their heads emitted a 
jingling sound resembling the humming of bees amidst their flowery braids. 17 The face of the sky, 
shining on all sides with a purple color reflected by the golden ornaments on their persons, seemed as 
if it was pleased with the wise sayings and sense of the sage. 

18 Celestial visitors vanished into the air and earthly guests retired to their homes on earth where they 
performed their evening rituals. 19 In the meantime, black night made her appearance on earth and, like 
a bashful young maiden, withdrew to the closet separate from the rest of mankind. 20 The lord of the 
day passed to shine on other lands, for truly it is the avowed duty of every good person to give the 
benefit of equal light to all. 21 The shade of evening veiled all sides and uplifted the canopy of the 
starry sphere on high which, like the spring atmosphere, was emblazoned with star-like kinsuka 

22 The birds of air took to their rest in the hollows of mango trees or on the tops of kadamba trees, like 

honest people of fair dealing find their rest in the purity of their minds and the contriteness of their 
inner hearts. 

23 The skirts of the clouds tinged with red by the slanting beams of the setting sun, and with a shade of 
yellow color upon them, decorated the western hills with vests of yellow garb while the sky crowned 
their heads with gemming wreaths of starry groups. 24 The goddess of evening, having departed after 
receiving her homage (evening prayers), was followed by her train of dark night shades appearing as 
black-bodied fiends, vetalas. 

25 A gentle and cooling breeze was blowing softened by the dew drops of night and opening the petals 
of kumuda lotus flowers, bearing their fragrance all around. 26 A thick gloom covered the face of 
nature and the stars were hidden under the mists of night. All the quarters of the skies, with their 
overhanging loose and hairy mists, seemed like the faces of widows shrouded by the dark disheveled 
hair of mourning. 

27 Now appeared the moist orb of the moon in her ambrosial form in the Milky Ocean of the sky to 
moisten the mundane heat with her milk-white beams. 28 On her rising, the thick mists of darkness fled 
from the eastern hemisphere and became invisible in the air, just like the darkness of ignorance is put 
to flight from the minds of monarchs when they attend to wise sayings. 

29 Then the sages and seers, the rulers and priests of the people, took their rest in their respective 
beds, as the words of Vasishta, full of meaning, rested in the recesses of their hearts. 

30 As the thick darkness of night, resembling the dark complexion of death, receded from the arena of 
the skies, the dewy dawn of day with her slow moving pace followed close on its footsteps. 

31 Twinkling stars disappeared from the sky, just like flowers on trees are blown away by wind and 
strewn on the ground like the fallen stars of heaven. 32 The sun became visible to the eyes. His rays 
roused them from sleep, just as the new-rising faculty of reason becomes conspicuous in the minds of 
enlightened great souls. 33 Fragments of clouds shining with sunlight spread a yellow covering over 
the eastern hills which were still decorated with strings of stars, pendant on the crests of their lofty 

34 After the performance of their morning services, all the terrestrial and celestial congress assembled 
again at the royal hall, in the order and manner of the day before. 35 The full assembly took their seats 
and sat without moving, like a lake covered with lotus remains calm after a storm 

3 6 Then Rama addressed Vasishta, the most eloquent of sages, with honey-like words about the 
subject under investigation. 37 He said, "Tell me plainly, O venerable sir, about the form of the mind, 
which developed itself in all things of the universe as they were its offshoots." 

38 Vasishta replied: — 

Rama, the mind has no form that anyone can see. Other than its name, it has nothing substantial, only 
the formless and irremovable void. 39 The mind as an entity (sat) is not situated in any part of the 
outer body, nor is it within any cavity of the heart or brain. But know it, O Rama, to be situated 
everywhere as the all encompassing void. 40 This world is produced from it, and it is like the waters 
of the mirage. It manifests itself in the forms of its fleeting thoughts, which are as false as the 
appearance of secondary moons in mists. 

41 The thinking principle is generally believed to be something between the positive and negative, or 
real and unreal. You must know it as such and no other. 42 That which represents of all objects is 
called the mind. There is nothing else to which the term mind is applicable. 4 3 Know that will 
(volition) is the same as the mind, and that the mind is no different from the will, just as fluidity is the 
same with water, and as there is no difference between air and its motion in wind. 44 For wherever 
there is any will, there also is that attribute of the mind. Nobody has ever taken will and mind to be 
different things. 

45 The representation of any object, whether real or unreal, is mind, and that is to be known as Brahma 
the great father of all. 46 The incorporeal soul in the body is called the mind and it has in itself the 
knowledge of all senses and everlasting ideas of the physical world. (I.e., the sentient and thinking 
soul is the same as the mind.) 47 The learned have given different names like ignorance, intellect, 
mind, bondage, sin and darkness to the visible appearance of creation. 48 The mind has no form other 
than a receptacle and reflector of ideas about the visible world which, I repeat, is no new creation, 
but a reflection of the mind. 

49 The visible world is situated in an atom of the great mind, just like the germ of the lotus plant is 
contained within its seed. 50 The visible world is as innate in the all-knowing mind as light is inherent 
in sunbeams, and velocity and fluidity are innate in winds and liquids. 51 But the visionary ideas of 
phenomena are as false and fleeting in the minds of their observers as the form of a jewel in gold, or 
water in a mirage, and they are as wrong as the foundation of a castle in the air, or seeing a city in a 

52 Because phenomena appear to be real to their observer, O Rama, I will cleanse them from your 
mind like dirt from a mirror. 53 Just like the disappearance of an appearance makes the observer no 
longer an observer, know that this is what happens when the mind is in a state of separation 
(detachment) from whatever is real or unreal in the world. 5 4 Having arrived at this state, all the 
passions of the soul and the desires of the mind will be at rest, like torrents of rivers at the calm that 
follows the stillness of the wind. 55 It is impossible that things having the forms of space, earth and air 
will appear the same in the clear light of reason as they do to our ordinary sight. 

56 Thus when the observer comes to know the unreality of the phenomena of the three worlds, as well 
as of his own entity, then his pure soul attains knowledge of the solitude of divine existence 
(kaivalya). 51 Such a mind reflects the image of God in itself as in a mirror, while all others are like 
blocks of stone, incapable of receiving any reflection at all. 

58 After suppression of the sense of "I" and "you" and the error of the reality of the outer world, the 
observer becomes withdrawn and remains in his silting posture without seeing external things. 

59 Rama replied, "If I cannot suppress my perception of entity, or an entity is unable to become a non- 
entity, or if I am unable to see phenomena as non-existent, 60 then tell me, O holy one, how can I to 
uproot this disease of our eagerness for phenomena from the mind, a disease which bewilders 
understanding and afflicts us with a series of troubles?" 

61 Vasishta replied: — 

Now hear my advice, Rama, for the suppression of this illusion of phenomena, whereby it will surely 

die away and become utterly extinct. 

62 Know Rama, that nothing that is can ever be destroyed or become extinct. Though you remove it, 
yet it will leave its seed or trace in the mind. 63 This seed is the memory of such things which reopens 
the ideas of the phenomena in the mind, expanding themselves in the fallacious notions of the forms of 
big worlds and skies, mountains and oceans. 64 These fallacious notions, called faults and defects of 
understanding, are obstacles in the way to liberation, but they do not affect the sages who are 

65 Again, if the world and all other phenomena have real existence, they cannot confer liberation on 
anyone because phenomena, whether they are situated within or without us, are themselves 
perishable. 66 Learn therefore this solemn truth, which will be fully explained to you in the subsequent 
parts of this work, 67 that all things appearing in the forms of emptiness, elementary forms, the world, 
and "I" and "you" are non-entities. They have no meaning. 

68 Whatever is seen as apparent is nothing other than the un-decaying and imperishable essence of the 
supreme Brahma himself. 69 The abundance of creation is an expansion of his fullness, and the quiet of 
the universe rests in his quietude. It is his quality of sky that is the substance of emptiness, and it is his 
immensity that underlies the immense cosmos. 

70 Nothing visible is real, and there is neither spectator nor spectacle here. There is nothing like 
emptiness or solidity in nature. All this is only a piece of extended Intelligence. 

7 1 Rama replied, "The proverbs about the son of a barren woman grinding stones, the horns of a 
rabbit, the dancing of a hill with its arms extended, 72 oil flowing from sand, marble dolls reading 
books, clouds in a painting roaring, and other similar adages apply to your words (on the reality of an 
unreal essence of God). 73 I see this world to be full of disease, death, trouble, mountains, emptiness 
and other things. How is it, sage, that you tell me that they do not exist? 74 So that I may be certain of 
this truth, tell me sage, why you describe this world as unsubstantial, unproduced and nonexistent?" 

75 Vasishta replied: — 

Know Rama, that I do not speak contradictions. Hear me explain how unreality appears as real, like 
the proverb of the son of a barren woman. 

7 6 All this was unproduced before and did not exist in the beginning of creation. It comes to 
appearance from the mind like a city in a dream. 77 The mind also was not produced in the beginning 
of creation and was an unreality itself. Therefore hear me tell you how we come to a notion of it. 

78 This unreal mind by itself spreads the false and changing scenes of the visible world, just as in a 
dream we see ever changing unrealities as true. 79 Then the mind exerts its will in the fabrication of 
the body and spreads the magic scene of the phenomenal world far and wide. 80 The mind, by the 
potential of its fluctuations, has many actions of its own, such as expansion, jumping, motion, craving, 
wandering, diving and seizing, and many other voluntary efforts. 

Chapter 5 — On the Original Cause {Mula-Karand) 

1 Rama said, "O chief of the sages, what is the cause that leads to our misconception of the mind? 
How it is produced, and what is the source of its illusion? 2 Tell me sage, in brief, about the first 
production (of the mind), and then, O best of the eloquent, you may say what else there is to be said on 
the subject." 

3 Vasishta replied: — 

Incident to the universal dissolution, when all things are reduced to nothing, this infinity of visible 
objects remains in a state of calm and quiet before their creation. 4 There is only great God in 
existence, who is uncreated and without decay, who is the creator of all at all times, who is all in all 
and Supreme Soul of all, and who resembles the sun that never sets. 5 He whom language fails to 
describe, and who is known only to the liberated, who is termed the soul only by fiction and not by 
his real nature (which is unknowable). 6 He is the Cosmic Man (purusha) of the Samkhya 
philosophers, the Brahman of Vedanta followers, the Intelligence of Gnostics, wholly pure and apart 
from all. 7 He is known as Vacuum by vacuists, and the One who gives the sun its light. He is truth 
itself, the power of speech and thought and vision, and all action and passion forever. 

8 He is who, though ever existent everywhere, appears as nonexistent to the world, and though situated 
in all bodies, seems to be far from them. He is the Enlightener of our understanding, like the light of 
the sun to the world. 9 It is He from whom the gods Vishnu and others are produced, like solar rays 
from the sun, and from whom infinite worlds have come into existence like bubbles of the sea. 

10 It is He to whom these multitudes of visible creations return, like the waters of the earth to the sea, 
and who enlightens all souls and bodies like a lamp. n He is present alike in heaven, in earth, and in 
the nether worlds, who abides equally in all bodies whether of the mineral, vegetable or animal. He 
resides alike in each particle of dust as in the high and huge mountain ranges, and He rides as swiftly 
on the wings of winds as He sleeps in the depths of the earth. 1 2 He appoints the eight internal and 
external organs of sense and action to their several functions, and He has made dull and dumb 
creatures as inert as stones and mute as if they sitting in meditation. 1 3 He has filled the skies with 
emptiness and the rocks with solidity. He has dissolved waters to fluidity and has concentrated all 
light and heat in the sun. 14 He has spread these wonderful scenes of the world like clouds sprinkle 
charming showers of rain, both as endless and constant as they are charming and sweet to sight. 

15 It is He who causes the appearance and disappearance of worlds in the sphere of His infinity, like 
waves in the ocean, and in whom these phenomena rise and set like the running sands of the desert. 

16 His spirit is the indestructible soul that resides as the germ of decay and destruction inside animals. 
It is so minute as to lie hidden within the body, and so huge as to fill all existence. 

1 7 His nature (prakriti) spreads Herself like a magic vine throughout the space of emptiness and 
produces the fair fruit in the form of the cosmic egg (brahmanda), while the outward organs of 
bodies, resembling the branches of this plant, keep dancing about the stem (the intelligent soul), 
shaken by the breeze of life which is ever fleeting. 18 It is He who shines as the gem of intelligence in 
the heart of the human body, and it is He from whom the luminous orbs constituting the universe 
continually derive their luster. 

19 It is that colossus of intelligence which like a cloud sheds ambrosial draughts of delight to soothe 
our souls and showers forth innumerable beings everywhere like raindrops. It bursts into constant 
flashes showing the prospects of repeated creations which are as momentary as flashes of lightening. 

20 It is His wonderful light that displays the worlds to our wondering sight, and it is from His being 
that both real and unreal derive their reality and unreality. 

21 The unconscious and ungodly soul turns to the attractions of others against its own purpose, while 
the tranquil soul rests in itself. 

22 It is He who transcends all existences, and by whom all existent beings are bound, in their proper 
times and places, to their destined actions, as they are also bound to their free actions, motions and 
efforts of all kinds. 2 3 It is He who from His personality of pure consciousness (cit, cosmic 
consciousness), became of the form of emptiness, then by means of His empty mind and empty 
thoughts filled it with substances, wherein His soul was to reside, and whereon His spirit had to 

24 Having thus made the infinite hosts of worlds in the immense sphere of the universe, He is yet 
neither the agent of any action nor the author of any act in it, but remains ever the same as the sole One 
alone, in His unchangeable and unimpaired state of self-consciousness, and without any fluctuation, 
evolution or adhesion of Himself, as He is quite unconcerned with the world. 

Chapter 6 — Honest Effort Required to Attain Self Knowledge 

1 Vasishta said: — 

It is by the knowledge of this transcendent Supreme Spirit and God of gods that one may become an 
adept, and not by the rigor of religious austerities and practices. 2 Here nothing else is needed than the 
culture and practice of divine knowledge, and thereby the truth being known, one views the errors of 
the world like a satisfied traveler looks at a mirage in a clear light. 

3 God is not far from or too near us. He is not obtainable by what He is not (such as adoration of 
images and ritual acts). He is the image of light and joy and is perceivable in ourselves. 4 Here 
austerities and charities, religious vows and observances are of no good whatever. It is only the calm 
peacefulness of one's own nature that is of value fort a person to serve God. 

5 The best means to attain divine knowledge are fondness for the society of the righteous and devotion 
to the study of good books. Ritual services and practices serve only to strengthen the trap of our 
inborn delusions, which only true knowledge can sever. 6 As soon as one knows one's own inner light 
to be God, one gets rid of his miseries and becomes liberated in his living state. 

7 Rama said, "Having known the Self in himself, one is no more exposed to the evils of life or even of 
death itself. 8 But say, how is this great God of gods to be attained from such great distance (as we are 
placed from Him), and what rigorous austerities and amount of pains are necessary for it?" 

9 Vasishta replied: — 

He is to be known through your courageous efforts (in knowledge and faith) and by the aid of clear 
understanding and right reasoning, and never by the practice of austerities or ablutions, or by acts 
attended with bodily pain of any kind. 10 For know, O Rama, that all your austerities and charities, 
your painstaking and mortification, are of no efficacy unless you wholly renounce your passions and 
enmity, your anger, pride and selfishness, and your envy and jealousy. n For whoever with a heart 
full of vile passions is liberal with money he has earned by defrauding others, the merit of such 
liberality accrues to the rightful owner of the properly and not to its professed donor. 1 2 Whoever 
observes any vow or rite with a mind moved by passions, he passes for a hypocrite and reaps no 
benefit of his acts. 

13 Therefore, for putting down the diseases and disturbances of the world, try your manly exertions in 
securing the best remedies of good precepts and good company. 14 No other course of action, except 
to exert one's courage, is conducive to allaying all the miseries and troubles of this life. 

1 5 Now learn what this courage is so that you may attain wisdom and annihilate the maladies of 
passions, affections and animosity in your nature. 16 True courage consists in remaining in an honest 
calling that conforms with the law and good customs of your country, and in a contented mind that 
shrinks from savoring the enjoyments of life. 17 It consists in the exertion of one's energies to the 
utmost of his power, without bearing any murmur or grief in his soul, and in one's devotion to the 
society of the good and perusal of good works and scriptures. 

18 He is truly brave who is quite content with what he gets, and spurns at what is unlawful for him to 
take; who is attached to good company and eager to study faultless works. 19 They who are of great 

mind, and who have known their own natures and those of all others by their right reasoning, are 
honored by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and Shiva. 20 One should diligently turn towards he who is 
called righteous by a majority of good people as the best and most upright of men. 2 l The best 
scriptures are considered to be those which deal primarily with spiritual knowledge. One who 
constantly meditates on them is surely liberated. 

22 It is by means of right discrimination derived from keeping good company and studying holy works 
that our understanding is cleared of its ignorance, just like dirty water is purified by kata seeds, and 
as the minds of men are purified by the by philosophy of yoga. 

Chapter 7 — God Is Pure Consciousness; the Phenomenal World Is Non-Existent 

1 Rama said, "Tell me, O holy one, about this God that you have spoken of, whose knowledge, you 
said, leads to our liberation. Where is He situated and how can I know Him?" 

2 Vasishta replied: — 

This God of whom I spoke is not at any distance from us. He is situated within these our bodies, and 
He is known to us as the form of pure Consciousness. 3 He is All in all, but all this world is not the 
omnipresent Himself. He is One alone, but is not all that is visible. 

4 It is this Consciousness that is in Shiva who wears the crescent moon on his head. It is the same in 
Vishnu who rides on his garuda eagle, and in Brahma who is born of the lotus. The sun also is a 
particle of this Intelligence. 

5 Rama replied, "So it is, and even children say that if the whole world is mere Consciousness, then 
why call it by another name? What is the use of teaching anyone about it (when everyone is full of 

6 Vasishta replied: — 

If you believe pure Consciousness is the same as the intelligent world, then you know nothing about 
how to get rid of this world. 7 The world is truly intelligent, O Rama, but the animal soul is called a 
brutish (pashu, animal) observer of things because it looks only after sensual gratifications, which 
gives rise to only fears of disease, decay and death. 8 The animal soul (Jiva), though an incorporeal 
substance, is an ignorant thing and subject to pain and sorrow. The mind (manas) also, though capable 
of intelligence, has become the root of all evils. 9 Intellectual liberation from thoughts of the world is 
one state; unintelligent gazing at it is another. He who knows the better of these two states of the soul 
has no cause of sorrow. 

10 He who has seen the all surpassing Supreme Being, has all of his heart strings cut asunder and all 
the questions of his mind driven away. The effects of his acts are washed away. n The longing after 
phenomena does not cease unless the perception of phenomena is effaced from the mind. 

1 2 How then is this perception to be effaced? How is it possible to have a longing after the 
unintelligible Intelligence without suppressing our longing for phenomena? It is only possible by 
avoiding the external perceptions of the mind. 

13 Rama said, "Sage, tell me about that empty animal soul, and how the knowledge of such soul does 
not enable one to get rid of his reincarnation. 14 Tell me also, who is that man who by company with 
the good and study of good works has crossed the ocean of the world and beholds the Supreme Soul 
in himself?" 

15 Vasishta replied: — 

Whatever animal souls, having been cast into the wilderness of this life, long after this intelligent 
soul, they are truly wise and know Him (in themselves). 16 Whoever believes the animal soul to be the 
life of the world and thinks Consciousness requires pain, he can never know Him anywhere. 17 If the 
Supreme Soul is known to us, O Rama, the succession of our sorrows is ended, like the fatal cholera 
after extraction of its poison. 

18 Rama said, "Tell me, O holy one, about the true form of the Supreme Soul, by light of which the 
mind may escape from all its errors." 

19 Vasishta replied: — 

The Supreme Soul is seen in ourselves and within our bodies in the same way as we are conscious 
that our minds are still be within us after its flight to distant countries. 20 Our notion of the Supreme 
Spirit is often lost in the depth of our minds in the same way as the existence of the outer world 
becomes extinct in our consciousness during yoga meditation. 21 We lose our sense of seeing and the 
seen in the knowledge of Him who is a non-empty vacuum or a substantive emptiness. 22 He whose 
substance appears as a vacuum and in whom exists the empty fullness of the universe, and who 
appears as emptiness itself, in spite of the multitude of His creation existing in Him, is truly the form 
of the Supreme Soul. 23 The form of the Supreme Soul (that you want to know) is He who though full 
of intelligence, appears to stand before us like an unconscious huge rock, and who, though quite subtle 
in his nature, seems to be some gross body to our conception. 24 That which encompasses the inside 
and outside of everything, and assumes the name and nature of everything to itself, is truly the form of 
the Supreme. 

25 As light is connected with sunshine, and emptiness with the sky, and as omnipresence is present 
with everything and everywhere, such is the form of the Supreme Spirit (that you want to know). 

26 Rama asked, "But how are we to understand that He who bears the name and nature of absolute and 
infinite reality should yet be compressed within anything visible in the world? Such is quite 
impossible to believe." 

27 Vasishta replied: — 

The false conception of the creation of the world resembles the false impression of colors in the clear 
sky. It is wrong, O Rama, to take something as real which does not exist in nature. 

28 It is the knowledge of Brahman that constitutes His form, or else there is no act of His whereby He 
may be known to us. He is entirely devoid of any visible form, and therefore there is no better way for 
anyone other than to know Him as truth. 29 After all trace of phenomena is gone, there remains a pre- 
eminent object of conception, which is inborn and manifest of itself. 30 This concept of the Super- 
eminent, having no visible appearance, often has no reflection, and at other times it is reflected in the 
mirror of the mind. 

3 1 Nobody has ever conceived this transcendent Truth in himself, who has not at the same time been 
convinced of the impossibility of the existence of the visible world. 

32 Rama replied, "Tell me, O sage, how the existence of so many extensive worlds composing the 
visible universe can be thought of as unreal or comprised in the minutiae of the Divine Mind, like 
Mount Mem in a sesame seed?" 

33 Vasishta replied: — 

If you stay in the company of holy men a few days, and if you study sacred scriptures with a steady 
mind with me, 3 4 then I will purge this false view of phenomena from your understanding, like a 
delusive mirage from one's sight. This absence of the view will extinguish your sense of being the 

viewer, and restore you to your intelligence alone. 

35 When the viewer is united with the view, and the view with the viewer, then duality becomes unity; 
duality blends into an inseparable unity. 36 Without union of the two there is no success of either. 
When viewer and the view have disappeared, only one unity remains. 

37 1 will cleanse the impurity of all your sense of "I" and "y°u," the world and all other things from 
the mirror of your mind, by bringing you to your consciousness of self and the total negation of 
everything else. 3 8 From nothing never comes a something and from something never proceeds a 
nothing, so there is no difficulty whatever in removing what does not exist in nature. 

39 In the beginning this world which appears so very vast and extensive was not in being. It resided in 
the pure spirit of Brahma. It has evolved from the mind of Brahma. 40 The thing called the world was 
never produced, it is not in being, and it does not actually appear. It is like gold in the form of a 
bracelet. It is not difficult to alter and reduce to its gross metallic state. 

41 1 will explain it fully by other examples whereby this truth may appear of itself and impress itself 
irresistibly in your mind. 42 How can something be said to exist that was never brought into existence? 
How can there be water in the mirage, or the ring of an eclipse in the moon? 43 As a barren woman 
has no son and a mirage has no water, and as the sky has no plant growing in it, so there is no such 
thing as what we falsely call the world. 

44 Whatever you see, O Rama, is the indestructible Brahma himself. I have shown you this many times 
with good reasoning and not just with mere words. 45 It is unreasonable, O intelligent Rama, to 
disregard something a learned man tells you with good reasoning. The dull-headed fellow who 
neglects to listen to the words of reason and wisdom is deemed as a fool and is subject to all sorts of 

Chapter 8 — Nature of Good Scriptures; Yoga Vasishta as the Treasury of All 

1 Rama asked, "How can it be reasonably shown and established that there is nothing to be known and 
seen in this world, although we have obvious notions of it supported by sense and right reasoning?" 

2 Vasishta answered: — 

This endemic of fallacious knowledge (of the reality of the world) has been prevalent for a long time. 
It is only by true knowledge that this wrong application of the word "world" can be removed from the 

3 1 will tell you a story, Rama, for your success in this knowledge. If you pay attention to it, you will 
become both intelligent and liberated. 4 But if the impatience of a brutish creature makes you get up 
and leave after hearing only half of this story, then you shall reap no benefit from it. 5 Whoever seeks 
some object and strives after it, he of course succeeds in getting it; but if he becomes tired of it he 

6 Rama, if you keep to the company of the good and to the study of good scriptures, then surely you 
will arrive at your state of perfection in course of a few days or mouths, according to the degree of 
your diligence. 

7 Rama said, "O you, who are best acquainted with the scriptures, tell me which is the best scripture 
for the attainment of spiritual knowledge, such that its familiarity may release us from the sorrows of 
this life?" 

8 Vasishta replied: — 

Know, O high minded Rama, that this work is the best of all others on spiritual knowledge. It is the 
auspicious (Yoga Vasishta) Great Ramayana, the scripture of scriptures. 9 This Ramayana is the best 
of histories, and it serves to enlighten understanding. It is known to contain the essence of all 
histories. 10 But by hearing these doctrines one easily finds his liberation coming of itself to him. This 
is why it is regarded as the most holy writing. 

11 All the existing scenes of the world will vanish upon their mature consideration, just like thoughts 
in a dream are dispersed after waking and realizing one had been dreaming. 12 Whatever there is in 
this work can also be found in others, but what is not found here cannot be found elsewhere. 
Therefore the learned call this the treasury of philosophy. 13 Whoever attends to these lectures every 
day shall have his excellent understanding undoubtedly stored day by day with transcendent 
knowledge of divinity. 14 He who finds this scripture to be disagreeable to his polluted taste, may 
prefer to browse some other scripture that is more wordy and eloquent. 

15 One feels himself liberated in this life by listening to these lectures, just as one finds himself healed 
of a disease by the potion of some effective medicine. l 6 The attentive hearer of these lessons 
perceives their efficacy in himself in the same way as one feels the effects of curses or blessings that 
always have their full effects in time. 1 7 All worldly miseries are at an end with he who considers 
well these spiritual lectures within himself. A similar effect is hard to be produce through charity or 
austerities, or through performing rituals ordained in the ancient Vedic texts, or through the many 
hundreds of practices that scriptures describe. 

Chapter 9 — Description of Living & Bodiless Liberation; God as the Supreme Cause of All 

(Par am a Karana) 

I Vasishta continued: — 

They are truly delighted and gratified who with all their hearts and minds are always devoted to holy 
conversation among themselves. 2 Those devoted to the acquisition of knowledge and investigation of 
spiritual science enjoy the same bliss of liberation in their living state as it is said to attend 
disembodied souls. 

3 Rama said, "Tell me, O holy one, the difference between liberation with and without a body, that I 
may try to learn with an understanding enlightened by the light of scriptures." 

4 Vasishta said: — 

Whoever remains as he is and continues intact as emptiness amidst society is called the liberated 
while in the body (Jivan mukta). 5 Who remains employed only in his exercise of intellect and seems 
to be sleeping in his waking state, though he is conducting his worldly affairs, is called liberated 
while in the body. 6 One whose countenance is neither flushed nor dejected in pleasure or pain, and 
who remains content with what he gets, is called liberated while living. 7 One whose waking is like 
the state of sound sleep, who is not awake to the accidents of the waking state, and whose waking 
state does not sense the desires incident to it, is called liberated in his life. 

8 Who, though moved by feelings of affection, enmity, fear and the like, is at rest, as clear and 
undisturbed as emptiness within himself, is called liberated while he is alive. 9 Who has not an air of 
pride in him, and is not conceited when he does or refrains to do anything, is called self-liberated in 
his lifetime. 10 Who with one glance or the wink of his eye has a full view of the whole of creation 
and the final destruction of the world, like the Supreme Self, is said to be liberated in his lifetime. 

II Whoever is neither feared nor is afraid, and who is free from the emotions of joy, anger and fear, 
such a person is liberated in life. 12 Who is quiet and quietly disposes his business of this world, and 
who though he stands as an individual in the sight of men but attaches no individuality to himself, and 
who though a sentient being is unconscious to all impressions, such a person is the living liberated 
soul. 13 Who being full of all possessions, and having everything present before him, remains cold and 
apathetic to them as if they were useless to him, such a man is liberated in his life. 

14 Now leaving the subject of liberated while in the body, I will describe what they call liberation 
without body (videhamukta) which enters the soul like a breath of wind after it has fled from the 
mortal body. 15 The disembodied free spirit neither rises nor sets, nor is it subject to wane. It is 
neither manifest nor hidden. It is not at a distance, nor is it in me, you or in any other person. 

16 It shines forth in the form of the sun and preserves the world like Vishnu. It creates the world in the 
shape of the lotus-born Brahma, and destroys all as Rudra or Shiva. 1 7 It takes the form of the sky 
supported on the shoulders of air that supports all living beings, gods, sages and demigods in the three 
worlds. It takes the form of boundary mountains that separate earth from sky. 

18 It becomes the earth and supports these numerous types of beings. It takes the forms of trees, plants 
and grass, and yields fruits and grains for nourishment. 1 9 It takes the forms of fire and water and 

burns and melts in them by itself. It sheds ambrosia in the form of the moon, and causes death in the 
shape of poison. 20 It becomes light with which it fills the sky, and it spreads darkness in the form of 
dullness (tamas). It becomes vacuum to leave empty space for all, while in the form of hills it 
obstructs their free passage on earth. 21 In the form of the fleet mind it moves the self-moving animals, 
and in the form of dull matter it fixes that which is incapable of motion. It girds the earth by its form of 
the ocean, just like a bracelet encircles the arm. 

22 The bodiless spirit takes upon it the great body of the sun and illuminates all the worlds with their 
minute particles while it remains quiet in itself. 23 Whatever is shining in this universe or ever was or 
is to be so, in any of the three — past, present and future times — know them all, O Rama, as forms of 
the Divine Spirit. 

24 Rama said, "Tell me, O holy one, why this view of liberation appears so very difficult to me. It 
makes me believe that liberation is altogether incomprehensible and unattainable by anybody." 

25 Vasishta replied: — 

This liberation is called nirvana and it is also called Brahman. Attend now to the means of its 

26 All such visible objects known as "I", "you", "this" and the like, because they are unproduced from 
the eternal being (sat) of God, it is impossible to have any conception of them in our minds. 

27 Rama said, "I think, O best of them who know the knowable, that the bodiless souls of the liberated, 
when they pass through the bounds of the three worlds, have to be born again according to the course 

28 Vasishta replied: — 

Those who retain a memory of the three worlds have to move about in them, but those who have lost 
the idea of their existence are absorbed in infinity. 29 For how can one derive knowledge of the unity 
of God from his belief in duality, the separate existence of the world? Therefore the figurative sense 
of the cosmos as God (Vishwa) can not give the spiritual and infinite idea of Brahma. 

30 He is no other but himself, of the nature of pure intellect, and of the form of the clear and tranquil 
emptiness. Brahma is said to be the world in order to signify his manifestation of its unreality as a 
reality to us. 31 1 have well considered a golden bracelet and found nothing as a bracelet in it except 
its gold. 32 1 observed the billows and found nothing in them but water. Where there was no water I 
saw no wave to rise. 33 1 see no vibration anywhere except in wind, which is the only force in motion 
moving all things in the world. 

34 As emptiness abides in air and water appears in the burning deserts, and as there is light spread 
over all creation, so the spirit of Brahma manifests in the three worlds in the forms of the very worlds 

35 Rama said, "Tell me, O sage, what makes this world, with its nature of absolute non-existence, 
exhibit such distinct appearances in its phenomena? 36 Tell me also, if the viewer and the view both 
become extinct, how can their nirvana or absorption in the deity remain without their personalities? 
3 7 Again, as it is impossible to conceive the existence of phenomena, say how is it possible to 

conceive the existence of the invisible Brahma in his own nature? 38 By what mode of reasoning can 
this truth be known and ascertained and, this being accomplished, there remains nothing else to be 
inquired into?" 

39 Vasishta replied: — 

This false knowledge or predisposition towards the reality of the world has been long prevalent, like 
a chronic disease, and must be removed only by the specific mantra of reasoning. 40 However, it can 
not be expelled quickly or in a minute. That requires some time, like the ascent and descent of an even 
sided precipice. 41 Therefore listen to what I say in order to dispel your fallacy of the world through 
arguments, logical inferences, and habitual meditation. 

42 Rama, listen to a tale that I am to tell for your attainment of this knowledge. By hearing it you will 
become intelligent, wise and liberated. 43 I will now talk about the subject of the production of the 
world in order to show you that all that is produced serves to bind our souls to the earth, and so that 
you may live quite free from such bondage. 4 4 1 will tell you about creation and how the false 
conception of the world is as unsubstantial as emptiness itself. 

45 This world appears to contain moving and unmoving beings and abounds in various races of gods, 
spirits, kinnaras (body of man and head of horse), 4 6 storm gods and other demigods. All these 
become invisible and lose themselves in nothing at the ultimate dissolution of the world. 47 Then there 
remains a moist and hollow deep without light and spread with a thick mist, everything undefined and 
undeveloped, except something that which is Real and lasts forever. 

48 There was no air or form of anything, no sight or anything to be seen. There were no multitudes of 
created and material beings that appear to be endless and everlasting to view. 4 9 There was a 
nameless Self, the fullest of the full in its form. It was neither entity nor non-entity, neither reality nor 
unreality. 50 It was mere Intellect without its exercise of intellect, Infinite without decay, auspicious 
and full of bliss. It was without beginning, middle or end, eternal and imperishable. 

51 In Him this world is manifest like a pearly goose in a painting. He is and yet is not this creation. He 
is the soul of both what is real and unreal. 52 He is without ears, tongue, nose, eyes or touch, yet He 
hears, tastes, smells, sees and feels everything in all places and at all times. 

53 He is also that (intellectual) light whereby we discern the form of that real and unreal Being in his 
perspective of creation, as the One without beginning or end, and as presenting an image without 
color or shade. 54 He is that empty Soul who views the worlds as clearly as the yogi with his half 
closed eyes who fixes his sight between his eyebrows and beholds Him in the form of indescribable 
light. 55 He is the cause of all, He whose cause is as nothing as the horns of a rabbit, and whose 
works, like so many waves of the sea, are all these worlds. 

56 His light is ever shining everywhere, and He has his seat in the human heart. It is from the candle 
light of His Consciousness that all the worlds derive their light. 57 It is He without whose light the sun 
would dwindle into darkness, and whose existence alone gives the world its appearance of a mirage. 
58 It is His pulsation that vibrates throughout the universe and it is His inertia that stops the course of 
the whole. It is on that pivot that the world has its revolution, just like a whirling firebrand describes 
a circle. 

59 His nature is pure and unchangeable. The works of creation and destruction are mere acts of His 
will in the persons of Brahma and Hara. 60 It is His inertia and force that gives rest and motion to all 
things, like the ubiquitous course of the winds. But this is only a common belief that He moves. In 
reality His nature is free from any and all change. 

6 1 He is always awake in His ever sleeping state, and therefore cannot be said to be waking or 
sleeping anywhere at anytime. He is both awake and asleep everywhere and at all times. 62 His 
quiescence is attended with bliss and tranquility, and His agitation puts the world in motion and in its 
course of action, yet He is said to remain unaltered in both states which unite in Him 

63 He is inherent in all things as fragrance is innate in the flower, and He is indestructible like the 
fragrance remains after the flower is destroyed. He pervades all things, yet is as intangible as the 
whiteness of linen. 

64 He, though speechless, is the author of all speech and sound. Though He appears to be as unthinking 
as a stone, He is full of thought. He, though fully satisfied with His bliss, enjoys all things, although 
He requires nothing for Himself. 65 He, though without body, moves all the members of the body and 
is described (in the Vedas) as having a thousand arms and eyes. He, having no support for Himself, is 
yet the support of all, and pervades the whole without being seated anywhere. 66 He, having no organs 
or organic power, is the Organ of organs and performs the functions of innumerable organs. Having no 
mind that senses, He exhibits endless designs of His Divine Mind in the infinity of creation. 

67 It is because of our lack of knowledge of Him that we are in constant dread of this delusive world, 
just as we are afraid of snakes. It is at His sight that all our fears and desires fly far away from us. 

68 It is in the presence of the clear light of that God of truth that all the wishes of our minds have a 
better play, just like actors dance best when they have light. 

69 It is by Him that a hundred types of visible objects arise every moment to our view, like the 
ceaseless series of waves, billows and surges rising on the surface of the waters. 70 It is He who 
exhibits Himself other than what He is, in hundreds of different shapes to our mistaken minds, just like 
gold is made to appear in the various forms of bracelets, armlets and a hundred other sorts of trinkets. 

71 He who manifests Himself as the soul abiding in me, you and in every other person, yet is not me, 
you, he or it, is the Supreme Soul or Self that is the same with and apart from all. 72 It is He and the 
same being, whether you view Him in one or more objects, as it is the same water that heaves itself in 
this or the other wave. Thus all visible phenomena have their rise from Him. 73 He from whom time 
has its counting and that which can be seen has its appearance, by whom the mind exercises its 
thinking powers, and by whose light the world is enlightened, is the Supreme. 7 4 Whatever forms, 
figures and their actions, whatsoever flavors and odors, and what sounds, touch, feelings and 
perceptions there are or that you can sense, know them all and their cause also to be the Supreme. 

75 You will be able to know your own soul, O good Rama, if you can see with the vision that lies 
between the looker and the object looked upon. 76 Know it as uncreated and indestructible, without 
beginning or end. It is the eternal and everlasting Brahma and bliss itself. It is immaculate and 
infallible, highly adorable and without fault in its nature. It is beyond all description and a mere void 
in its form. It is the cause of causes and a notion of something that is unknowable. It is understanding 

and the inner faculty of the intellect or the mind. 

Chapter 10 — The Emptiness upon Universal Dissolution Is Not Empty; Description of God 

1 Rama said, "That which remains after the universal dissolution is commonly designated by the term 
'formless void.' 2 Then how can you say that there was no void, light or darkness? 3 How could it be 
without the intellect and the living principle? How could the entities of the mind and understanding be 
lacking in it? 4 How could there be nothing and not all things? You have used other similar 
paradoxical expressions that have created much confusion in me." 

5 Vasishta said: — 

You have raised a difficult additional question, Rama, but I shall have no difficulty to solve it, just 
like the sun is at no pains to dispel the darkness of night. 6 At the end of a great kalpa age when there 
remains that entity of God, it cannot be said to be a void, as I will now explain to you. Attend Rama 
and hear. 

7 Like images carved in bas-relief upon a pillar, this world was made in relief upon that Entity. It 
cannot be said to have been a void. 8 Again, when there was the appearance of abundance under the 
name of the world, and be it real or unreal, it could not have been a void and empty. 

9 As a pillar with carved or painted figures cannot be said to be devoid of them, so Brahma exhibiting 
the worlds contained in him can not become a void. 10 But the world contained in Brahma becomes 
both something and nothing, just like billows in calm waters may either exist or not exist. n Again it 
happens that the hand of time marks certain figures in some places on some unconscious trees, and 
these marks are mistaken by people for images. So it comes to pass that certain figures of 
impermanent matter occur in the eternal mind which men mistake for the real world. 

12 This comparison of the carved pillar, the tree and the world, is a partial and not complete simile. 
The similarity refers only to the impression of the transient world on the substance of the permanent 
Brahma. 1 3 But this appearance of the world is not caused by another. It rises, lasts and sets 
spontaneously and of itself in the same essence of Brahma. It is the nature of the Divine Soul and the 
mind to raise and set such images in them, like the creations of our imagination. 

14 The meaning of the word void (shunya) instead of no void (ashunya) or existence is a fiction. It is 
as false as emptiness is a none-existence in nature. Something must come out of something, and never 
from a void nothing. How can nothing be reduced to nothing in the end? 

1 5 In answer to your second question, it has been said "and there was no darkness." Because the 
divine light of Brahma (which existed before creation) is not like the light of a material luminary 
(which is followed by darkness). The everlasting light cannot be hidden by darkness, like sunshine or 
moonlight or the blazing of fire or the twinkling of stars or our eyes. 16 What we call darkness is the 
absence of light from the great celestial suns. God having no material property in his immaterial 
essence, there could be no such light or darkness with Him before creation. 

17 The light of the empty Brahma is an internal perception of the soul and is only felt and perceived 
within one's self, and never externally by anybody. This spiritual light is never clouded by any mist 
or darkness of temporal objects. 18 The indestructible Brahma is beyond and free from external and 
visible light and darkness. He is above the region of emptiness that is contained, as it were, within his 
bosom, and contains the universe sheathed within His hollow womb. 

19 As there is no difference between the outside and inside of a fruit, so there is no shade of difference 
between Brahma and the universe. 20 As a wave is contained in and composed of water, and a clay 
pot of the earth, so the world being contained in Brahma, it can not be said to be null and void but is 
full of the spirit of God. 2 1 The comparison of earth and water does not agree physically with the 
spiritual essence of God, whose empty spirit contains and comprises the whole (vishwa, universe) 
within itself, as those elements have their component parts and productions. 22 Now, as the sphere of 
the intellect is far clearer and brighter than the spheres of air and empty space, so the sense and idea 
of the word "world" in the Divine Mind is clearer in a far greater degree than this visible world 
appears to us. 

23 (In answer to the third question with regard to the lack of intellect), it is said that like the pungency 
of pepper is perceived by one who tastes it and not by him who has never tasted it, so the minutiae of 
the Intellect are known in the intellectual sphere by a cultivated intelligence, and not by one who is 
without it. 

24 Thus the Intellect appears as no intellect to one who is devoid of Intelligence in himself. So this 
world is seen in the spirit of God or otherwise according to whether one has cultivated or neglected 
his spiritual knowledge. 25 The world can be seen either in its outward form as other than Brahma or 
in a spiritual light as the same with Brahma. The yogi views it in its fourth (turiya) state of utter 
extinction (susupta, deep sleep) in his unconscious soul. 2 6 Therefore the yogi, though leading a 
secular life, remains in deep sleep in his soul, and tranquil ishantd) in his mind. He lives like Brahma 
unknown to and unnoticed by others, and though knowing all and full of thoughts in himself, he is like 
a treasury of Knowledge, unknown to the rest of mankind. 

2 7 (In answer to the question how corporeal beings could proceed from incorporeal Brahma,) as 
waves of various shapes rise and fall in the still and shapeless breast of the sea, so innumerable 
worlds of various forms float about in the unaltered and formless emptiness of Brahma's bosom. 
28 From the fullness of the Divine Soul (Brahmatma) proceeds the fullness of the individual soul 
(jivatma) that also is formless (nirakriti). This aspect of Brahma is said to be owing to the purpose 
of manifesting himself (as living in all living beings). 29 So the totality of worlds proceed from the 
fullness of Brahma, yet the same totality remains as Brahma himself. 

30 Considering the world in our minds as synonymous with Brahma, we find their identity like one 
finds by taste that pepper and its pungency are the same thing. 3 1 Such being the state of the unreality 
of the mind and what it can perceive, their reflections upon each other are as untrue as the shadow of 
a shadow. 

32 Know Brahma is smaller than the smallest atom and the minutest of minutest particles. He is purer 
than air and more tranquil than the subtle ether that is enclosed in him. 33 Unbounded by space or time, 
his form is the most extensive of all. He is without beginning or end, an indescribable light without 
brightness. 34 He is of the form of cosmic consciousness {chit) and eternal life, without the conditions 
and accidents of life. The Divine Mind has its will eternal and it is devoid of the desires of finite 

35 Without consciousness there is no life or understanding, no exercise of intellect, no organic action 
or sensation, and no mental desire or feeling whatever. 36 Hence the Being that is full of these powers, 

and who is without decline or decay, is seen by us to be seated in His state of tranquil emptiness, and 
is more subtle than the rarefied vacuum of the ethereal regions. 

37 Rama said, "Tell me again and more precisely about the form of this transcendental Being who is of 
the nature of infinite intelligence so that I may have more light in my understanding." 

38 Vasishta said: — 

I have told you repeatedly that there is one supreme Brahma, the cause of causes, who remains alone 
by Himself when the universe is finally dissolved or absorbed in Him. Listen to me describe Him 
fully to you. 

39 That which the yogi sees within himself in his samadhi meditation, after forgetting his personality 
and repressing the faculties and functions of his mind, is truly the form of the unspeakable Being. 

40 The yogi absorbed in meditation without awareness of the visible world or any sense of the viewer 
or the viewed, and who sees the light shining in himself, is the form of that Being. 4 1 He who has 
forgotten the nature of the individual soul (Jiva) and his tendencies towards phenomena remains in the 
pure light and tranquil state of his consciousness and is the form of the Supreme Spirit. 42 He who 
does not feel wind or the touch of anything upon his body, but lives as a mass of intelligence in this 
life, is truly the form of the Supreme. 

43 Again, that state of the mind which a man of sense enjoys in his long and deep sleep, undisturbed by 
dreams or gnats, is truly the form of the Supreme. 44 That which abides in the hearts of emptiness, air 
and stone, and is the intellect of all inanimate beings, is the form of the Supreme. 45 Again, whatever 
irrational and unconscious beings live by nature without soul or mind, the tranquil state of their 
existence is the nature of the Supreme Lord. 46 That which is seated in the midst of the intellectual 
light of the soul, and what is situated in the midst of the ethereal light of the sun, and that which is in 
the midst of light that we can see is truly the form of the Supreme. 

47 The soul that is the witness to our knowledge of solar and visual lights and darkness, and is without 
beginning or end, is the form of the Supreme. 48 He who manifests this world to us and keeps Himself 
hidden from view, be He the same or distinct from the world, is the form of the Supreme. 4 9 He, 
though full of activity, is as sedate as a rock and who though not emptiness appears to be empty, such 
is the form of the Supreme. 

50 He who is the source and end of our triple consciousness of the knower, known and knowledge, is 
most difficult of attainment. 5 l He who shines forth with the luster of the triple conditions of the 
knowable, knower and their knowledge, and shows them to us as a large unconscious mirror, is truly 
the form of the Supreme who is not the cause but the source of the triple category. 

5 2 The mind liberated from bodily activities and its dreaming, remaining concentrated in the 
consciousness abiding alike in all living as well as inert bodies, is said to remain in the end of our 
being. 53 The intelligent mind that is as fixed as an immovable body and is freed from the exercise of 
its faculties can be compared to the Divine Mind. 

Chapter 11 — There Can Be No Creation or Dissolution of Something that Never Existed 

1 Rama said, "Tell me, O holy one, where does this world go after its dissolution when it does not 
retain its present form or its magnificent appearance?" 

2 Vasishta answered: — 

Tell me, Rama, what is the form of the barren woman's son? Where does he come from and where 
does he go? Tell me also, where does a castle in the sky come from and where does it go? 

3 Rama replied, "There never was, nor is there, nor will there ever be a son of a barren woman, or a 
castle in the sky. Why do you ask me about the form and figure of something that is nothing?" 

4 Vasishta said: — 

As there never was a barren woman's son or a city in the air, so there never existed any scene such as 
that of the world. 5 That which has no existence could not have come from anywhere, nor can it have 
its dissolution afterwards. So what can I tell you about its origin or demise? 

6 Rama replied, "The son of a barren woman and a city in the sky are mere fictions, but the visible 
world is not so and it has both beginning and end." 

7 Vasishta replied: — 

It is hard to have a comparison where the subject and object of the comparison agree in all respects. 
The world and its objects allow no comparison other than with themselves. 8 The appearance of the 
world is compared with that of a bracelet because the one is as false as the other. Neither is real. 
9 And because there is nothing in the sky except negative emptiness, so the existence of the world in 
Brahma is only a negative idea. 10 As the black eye-liner collyrium is nothing other than blackness, 
and as there is no difference between frost and its coldness, so the world is not other than the great 
Brahma himself. 

11 As the properly of coldness cannot be denied of the moon and frost, so one cannot describe creation 
as not being of God. (Literally, creation is not a negative property of Brahma, but essential to His 
nature.) 12 As there is no water in a sea of the mirage, or light in the new moon, so this world, as it is 
(in its gross state) does not abide in the pure spirit of God. 

1 3 That which did not exist owing to the lack of any cause has no present existence and cannot be 
destroyed. 14 How is it possible for a dull material object to have any cause other than a material one? 
In the same way it is not the light (but some solid substance) that is the cause of a shadow. 15 But as 
none of these works has come into existence without some cause, that cause, whatever it is, is 
displayed in what it produced. 16 Whatever appears as ignorance or illusion has some appearance of 
intelligence or truth, just like the illusion of the world seen in a dream displays the effect of 
consciousness within us. 17 Just like the illusion of the world in a dream is not without our inner 
consciousness of it, in the same way Brahma was not unconscious of the expansion of the world at the 
beginning of creation. 

18 All that we see about us is situated in the Divine Soul. There is no other world that rises and sets 
(except what is imprinted in our minds). 

19 As fluidity is another name for water and fluctuation the same with wind, and as sunshine is nothing 
other than light, so the world is nothing but Brahma (displayed in nature). 20 As the appearance of a 
city resides in the inner consciousness of a person who is conscious of his dreaming, in the same 
manner this world is displayed in the Supreme Soul. 

21 Rama said, "If it is so, then tell me, O holy one, from where do we get our belief of its materiality? 
How is it that this unreal and visionary impression presents its baneful visible aspect to us? 22 If the 
view is in existence, there must be its viewer also, and when there is the viewer there is the view 
likewise. As long as either of these is in existence, there is our bondage. Our liberation chiefly 
depends on the disappearance of both (which can hardly take place). 23 It is entirely impossible to be 
liberated as long as our notion of the view is not lost in our minds. Unless the view is vanished both 
from the vision of the eyes and mind, no one can even form an idea in his mind of liberation." 

24 "Again the representation of the view at first and its obliteration afterwards are not enough for our 
liberation because the memory of the view is sufficient to bind the soul. 2 5 Moreover, when the 
picture of the view is impressed on the soul and reflected in the mirror of the mind, there is no need 
for its recollection (for what is deeply rooted in the soul comes out of itself). 26 The intellect, which 
at first was without the notion of phenomena, would be entitled to liberation, but once it has seen, it 
has taken on the impression of what it has seen." 

27 "Now sage, please use your reasoning to remove my hopelessness of liberation which, I imagine, is 
unattainable by any." 

28 Vasishta said: — 

Hear me, Rama, explain to you at length how the unreal world with all its contents appears to us as 
real. 29 For unless it is explained to you by my reasoning, stories and examples, this doubt will not 
subside in your breast like mud settles in a lake. 30 Then Rama, you will be able to conduct yourself 
on earth as one assured that the creation and existence of the world are false concepts. 3 1 You will 
then remain like a rock against the impressions of wealth and poverty and of gain and loss, and 
whether your relation with anything is fleeting or lasting. 

32 Know that there is that only one spirit which is self-existent. All else is mere fiction. 

I will now tell you how the three worlds were produced and formed. 33 It was from Him that all these 
beings have come to existence, while He of himself is all and everything in it. He likewise appears to 
us and disappears also, both as forms and their appearances, and as the mind and its faculties, and as 
figures and their shapes, and as modes and motions of all things. 

Chapter 12 — Detailed Description of Original Creation, Elements in Their Subtle Forms 

1 Vasishta said: — 

From the state of perfect stillness and tranquility of the supremely holy Spirit, the universe rose to 
being in the manner that you must hear with your best understanding and attention. 

2 As sound sleep displays itself in visionary dreams, so Brahma manifests Himself in the works of 
creation, of which He is the soul and receptacle. 3 The world, which of its nature is continually 
progressive in its course, is identical with the essence of that Being, whose form is selfsame with the 
indescribable glory of His eternally brilliant Intellect (chintamani, the wish-fulfilling jewel). 4 This 
Intellect (chit, cosmic consciousness), before assuming to itself consciousness or the knowledge of 
self, gets of itself and in itself an exercise of intellection (a thought). (This is the first stage in 
perception by the soul). 

5 Then this thinking Intellect (chetya-chit) gets the notions (bodha, knowledge or truth) of some faint 
images (uhita-rupas) which are purer and lighter than air, and which receive their names and forms 
only later. (The innate ideas are born before the embryonic mind or soul). 6 Afterwards this 
transcendent essence (Intellect, Consciousness) becomes an intelligent principle (sacheta) eager for 
intelligence (chetana). It is now worthy of its name as Intellect or chit on account of its having 
attained what is called intelligence. 

7 Lastly it takes the form of gross consciousness (ghana-samvedana) and receives the name of the 
individual soul (Jiva as the living cosmic soul or Hiranyagarbha). It now loses its divine nature by 
reflecting on itself. 8 Then this living principle is involved in thoughts relating only to the world, but 
its nature depends on the divine essence (as the fallacy of the snake depends on the substance of the 

9 Afterwards an empty space rises into being called kham (vacuum) which is the seed or source of the 
properly of sound and which later becomes expressive of meaning. 10 Next in order, the elements of 
egoism and duration are produced in the individual soul. These two terms are the roots of the 
existence of future worlds. 

1 1 This ideal knowledge in Divine Spirit of the unreal forms of the network of world was made to 
appear as a reality by omnipotent power. 12 Thus the ideal self-consciousness became the seed (or 
root) of the tree of desires that ego fluctuates in the form of air. 13 The intellect in the form of airy ego 
thinks on the element of sounds (shabda tanmatram, the element of sound in its subtle form) and it 
becomes by degrees denser than the rarified air and produces the element of mind. 

14 Sound is the seed (or root) of words that later became diverse in the forms of names or nouns and 
significant terms. Words evolved and became as numerous as shoots on trees, and as varied as 
inflected speech, sentences, and the collections of Vedas and other scriptures. 1 5 It is from this 
Supreme Spirit that all these worlds derived their beauty and the multitude of words (which sprang 
from the sounds), full of meaning, became widespread. 16 Consciousness expressed as this family of 
its offspring is described as the living individual soul (jiva) which afterwards became the source of 
all forms of beings known under a variety of expressions. 17 From this individual soul sprang the 
fourteen kinds of living beings that fill the cells in the bowels of all worlds. 

1 8 It was then that Consciousness, by a motion and inflation of itself and as instantaneously as a 
thought, became the subtle-form element (tanmatra) of touch and feeling (the air), which was yet 
without name or action. This breath caused air, which expanded itself and filled all bodies that are 
objects of touch and feeling. 19 The air, which is the seed (root) of the tree of tangibles, then 
developed itself into branches composed of the various kinds of winds that cause breath and motion 
in all beings. 

20 Then, at its pleasure and from its idea of light, Consciousness produced the elemental essence of 
luster, which later received its different names (sunlight, moonlight, starlight, firelight, lightening). 

21 Then the sun, fire, lightning and others that are the seeds (or roots) of the tree of light, caused the 
various colors that filled the world. 

22 Consciousness reflected on the lack of fluidity and produced the liquid body of waters whose taste 
constitutes the element {tanmatra) of flavor in its subtle form. 23 The desire of the soul for different 
flavors {rasa, bliss) is the seed of the tree of taste, and it is by the relish of a variety of tastes that the 
world is to go on in its course. 

24 Then the self-willed Brahma, wishing to produce the visible earth, caused the property of smell to 
appertain to it from his own subtle element of it. 25 He made his elemental solidity the seed or source 
of the tree of forms, as he made his own element of roundness underlie the spherical world. 

26 These elements are all evolved from Consciousness and remain within Consciousness, just like 
bubbles of water rise and subside in itself. 27 In this manner, all beings remain in their combined 
states until their final dissolution into simple and separate forms. 28 All things, which are only forms 
and formations of pure Intellect, remain within the sphere of Divine Intelligence, as the subtle form of 
a big banyan tree resides in the forms of pollen and seed. 29 These sprouted forth in time and burst out 
into a hundred branches. Having been concealed in an atom, they became as big as if they were to last 

30 Such is the growth and multiplication of things within Consciousness until development is stopped 
by its contraction, then weakened in their bodies by its desertion, until they droop down in the end. 

31 In this way the elements in their subtle forms {tanmatras) are produced in Consciousness out of its 
own volition and are manifested to sight in the form of formless minutiae. 32 These five-fold elements 
are only the seeds of all things in the world. They are seeds of the primary momentum that was given 
to them (in the beginning). To our way of thinking, they are the seeds of elementary bodies, but in their 
real nature, they are the uncreated ideal shapes of Consciousness replenishing the world. 

Chapter 13 — On the Production of the Self-Born 

1 Vasishta said: — 

Rama, when the Supreme Brahman remains in his resplendent and tranquil state (before creation), 
there is no essence of ethereal light or heat or even darkness produced in the intellectual spirit. (But 
they lie hidden there as if buried in oblivion). 

2 The Being (sat) that is God begins with the attribute of intellectuality (chetya). It is from the 
exercise of intellect (chetana, intuitive consciousness) of his intellectual part (chetyansa) that the 
name of mind (chitta, the memory aspect of mind) is attributed to Him The faculties (shakti, power) 
of his intellect (chit, universal consciousness) are called its intelligence (chetana, life, spirit, visible, 

3 Cosmic Consciousness (chit) or Intellect, from its intelligence (chetana), then has the attribute of the 
individual, the individual soul (jiva) and connection with the intelligible objects in nature. Then when 
it is subject to intelligible objects, having a subtle, elemental form of the sense of individual self 
(aham matra), it can be named maya or illusion. 4 Then from the excess of its egoism (ahanta) that is 
full with the purposes of its mind and of the elements of sound and other sense objects, it has the 
attribute of understanding (buddhi, individual intelligence, the intuitive, faculty of direct intelligence 
controlling the sense organs, the organ of mind responsible for discrimination and judgment). 

5 This (living, deluded and self reflecting) ego is puffed up with thoughts of all things and looks upon 
the great tree of the visible world (as the great garden for its pleasure and gain). 6 Living souls, like 
so many impermanent objects seen in a dream, are made to rise and fall one after the other in this 
great forest of the world surrounded by skies and space. 

7 But the world is as continuous as a grove of karajna plants that grow from unsown seeds, and its 
elements of water, fire, earth and air have no regard for anybody (living or dead). 8 The 
Consciousness that is the soul of the universe creates the earth and all other things, like one 
remembers his dreams. 9 Wherever there is the germ of the world, it develops itself in that place. The 
live elements are the five-fold seed of the world, but the un-decaying Consciousness is the seed of the 
five-fold elements (pancha bhoota, i.e., earth, water, fire, air and space). 

10 As the seed so is its fruit. Therefore know the world is a form and full of God. Know the spacious 
sky is the reservoir of the five elements in the beginning of creation. 

11 The soul, like the body, is composed of the powers of Consciousness and does not exist of itself, 
but being inflated by Consciousness, it extends its bulk. 1 2 But the empty form of Consciousness, 
seated in the spiritual body of the soul, cannot be composed of solid reality. This is not possible. 
Therefore nothing can come from an impossibility. 

13 Again, that which is changeable in its form cannot have its sameness at all times. Therefore, if the 
substance of the five elements is attributed to Brahma, from an idea within the essence of His spirit, 
there can be no immaterial and unchanging Brahma. (I.e., Brahma would also have to be material and 
subject to change.) 14 Therefore know these five elements are the developed Brahma himself as he 
evolved them in the beginning, and he is their producer for the creation of the world. 15 He being the 
prime cause of their production, there is nothing that exists without him and the world is no product of 


16 The unreal appears as real just like a city is seen in a dream, and like a castle built in the air by our 
hopes. In the same way we place the individual soul in ourselves, which has its foundation in the 
empty spirit of God. 17 Thus the brilliant spirit, situated in the Divine Intellect, being no earthly or any 
other material substance, is called the individual soul and remains in emptiness like a luminous body 
rising in the sky. 

18 Hear now how this empty individual soul, after its detachment as a spark from the totality of vital 
spirits, comes to be embodied in the human body within the empty sphere of Divine Consciousness. 

19 At first the soul thinks it is like a minute particle of light, then it considers itself to be growing in 
the sphere of its consciousness. 20 The unreal appearing real in the end proves to be unreal, just like 
an imaginary moon becomes nothing. So the soul continues to see itself subjectively and objectively 
both as the viewer and the view. 21 Thus the single self becomes double, just as one sees his own 
death in a dream. Thus it waxes into bigness and thinks its vital spark is a star. (This is the form of the 
linga deha within the body, the sentient soul, the subtle or astral body.) 

22 As the soul continues to think of itself as a microcosm of the universe (vishwarupa), it falsely 
thinks itself to be within such reality, a thought expressed by "soham" (so am I). 23 By thinking of 
himself this way, a man comes to believe it to be true, just like one believes himself to be a traveler 
in his dream So by thinking the soul as a star (light body), he views it so within himself. 

24 By continually thinking about his soul this way, he loses his external sensations and views this star 
in his head. 25 He sees the soul within himself as though it exists without him, just like a mirror 
reflects the distant hill in itself. He sees the soul confined within him like a body stuck in a well, and 
like a sound is confined in the hollow of a cave. 26 Consciousness of our dreams and desires is an 
attribute of the individual soul whose real form is that of a star keeping watch within us. 

27 Now this empty life composed of the essences of the mind — understanding and knowledge — 
resides in the hollow sheath of the star. 28 It appears to me to take flight to the sky in order to see what 
is passing there. Then it enters the body by two holes which later are named the external organs (of 
sight). 29 The organs by which the embodied individual soul is to see are called the eyes. That by 
which it feels is called the skin. Those whereby it hears are ears. 30 The organ of smell is the nose, 
and that which conducts flavor to the spirit, the sense of taste, is the tongue. 31 Then there is breathing 
air — the breath of life — which moves the energies of the organs of action. It is this air which is the 
cause of vision and the mover of the internal organs of mind and thought. 32 Vital breath supports the 
body and the all supporting soul in the emptiness of the body, and fills and kindles it like air kindles a 
spark of fire. 

33 The word jiva or the individual soul has a figurative meaning: "something real in the unreal body." 
Hence Brahma is said to be the life and soul of the unreal world. 34 The gross embodied soul is in the 
form of emptiness, like the mind, yet it imagines itself to reside in an egg-shaped space inside the 
body, as Brahma is supposed to be seated in the cosmic egg. 3 5 Some view the spirit of God as 
floating on the surface of the waters (in the form of Narayana). Others view it in the person of the 
Lord of creatures (Pashupati, Shiva). There are others who look at the spirit of God as infused 

throughout the creation in the figure of Viraj (the primordial man). These are called the subtle and 
gross bodies of the soul (sukshma and sthula sharira ). 

36 The soul or spirit is the spacious womb of production. It is the means of executing its own purposes 
and of knowing the proper time and place. It is the article and the manner of action. 37 The mind is the 
inventor of words, expressive of ideas (in the soul), and subjects itself to the arbitrary sounds of its 
own invention. Hence, in this world of errors, God is falsely said to be embodied in the words 
(shabda Brahma, the Brahma of speech, of Mimansa philosophy). 

38 The unproduced and self-born Brahma that has risen of himself (and represents the mind) is as 
unreal as a man dreaming he is flying in the sky. 3 9 This all supporting and embodied soul is the 
creator Lord of Creatures who is said to have formed this illusory frame of the world. 40 But in 
reality, nothing was formed or born, nor is there any substance to be found in the world. It is still the 
same empty form of Brahma whose essence is known to extend as the infinite space itself. 

41 Things that appear to be real are as unreal as an imaginary city. They present a variety of forms and 
colors to the fancy, but have not been built or painted by anybody. 42 Nothing that is unmade or un- 
thought of can be real, and the gods Brahma and others, being freed from their business at the 
universal dissolution of existence, could neither resume their functions to make or have materials with 
which to make. 43 The self-born Brahma, having neither memory of the past nor any material with 
which to work, would not be able either to form an ideal or to make anything material. Therefore, 
Brahma producing anything and any formation of the universe are both impossible. 

44 The earth and all other existence are the eternal ideas of the Divine Mind. They appear to us to be 
objects in a dream that is our waking state. 45 The Divine Spirit is known only as an emptiness, 
therefore the world must also be emptiness because like produces like. So all waters are liquid, 
though they are made to pass under different names. 

46 This creation is everywhere the same in the Supreme Spirit. It is only an evolution of the same and 
the Creator is always and everywhere unchanging in His nature. 47 The empty universe, under the 
name of the cosmic egg, shines as clearly as the Divine Spirit. It is calm in its appearance and 
becomes disturbed by causes born in itself. 48 It is supported by the unsupported Supporter of all who 
is one and without a second, but devoid of unity in creation. All this is born in His consciousness and 
therefore there is nothing new that is produced. 

49 He who is of the form of unlimited space without any emptiness in it, who is transparent yet teeming 
with abundance, and who is the whole world without any worldliness in him, truly underlies 
everything. 50 He who is neither the container nor the contained, nor the appearance of the world, who 
is neither the world nor its creator, and about whom there can be no dispute or disputant, is truly the 
unknown God. 51 He who is neither the passing world nor any of its passing things, who is quite at 
rest yet situated in all things (whether moving or quiescent), is the only Brahma that shines of himself 
in himself. 

52 The idea of the fluidity of water allows our minds to form an image of a whirlpool. In the same 
way, the sight of the world produces the false notion of its reality in the mind. 5 3 All unrealities 
become extinct at the end, as we see the death of our frail bodies in dreams. The essential part of our 

soul remains unscathed because of its own nature of indestructibility in the form of everlasting 
consciousness in the atmosphere of our intellects. 

54 Brahma, the prime Lord of creatures, is ever manifest by himself in the form of emptiness in the 
Supreme Spirit. He being of a spiritual form, like the mind, has no material body formed of earth or 
any other material. Therefore He is both real and unborn. 

Chapter 14 — No Individual Souls, only One Brahma; Each Is Brahma; Brahma Creates the 

Rules and Delegates 

1 Vasishta added: — 

In this manner the visible world, I, you, and all other things are nothing. Being unmade and unborn, 
they are nonexistent. It is only the Supreme Spirit that exists of itself. 

2 The primeval empty soul first is awakened of itself by its own energy from its quietness, then begins 
to have a motion in itself like the troubled waters of the deep. 3 Then it begins to reflect in itself, like 
in a dream or imagination, without changing its empty form, like a rock with an inner faculty of 

4 The body of the great god Viraj ("Untainted") is also devoid of any material form, whether earthly 
or any other elemental shape. It is purely a spiritual, intellectual and ethereal form, as transparent as 
the ether itself. 5 It is without decay, steady like a rock, and as airy as a city seen in a dream It is inert 
as the line of a regiment painted in a picture. 6 All other souls are like pictures of dolls and puppets 
painted, and not engraved, on the body of Viraj like on a huge pillar. He, standing as an uncarved 
column in the empty sphere of Brahma, represents all souls (and not bodies) as they are mere pictures 
on it. 

7 The prime lord of creatures is said to be self-born. He is known as the uncreated (Brahma) for want 
of his prior acts to cause his birth. 8 The primeval patriarchs (progenitors) who obtain their ultimate 
liberation at the final dissolution of the world have no antecedent cause to be reborn as unliberated 
mortals. 9 Brahma, who is the reflector of all souls, is himself invisible in the inward mirror of other 
souls. He is neither the view nor the viewer, and neither the creation nor the creator himself. 

10 Therefore, although Brahma has nothing that can be described, and has nothing that may be affirmed 
or denied about Him, yet He is the soul of everything that can be described. He is the source of these 
chains of living beings, just as light is the cause of a line of lighted lamps in illuminations. 

11 The will of the gods (Brahma and Viraj), proceeding from the volition of Brahma, is of the same 
spiritual nature as the other; just as one dream rising in another is equally as insubstantial as the first. 

12 Hence all individual souls evolved from the breathing of the Supreme Spirit are of the same nature 
as their origin because there is nothing else that could cause or contribute towards cause. 13 Lack of a 
secondary agency produces the equality of effects and their cause. Hence the uniformity of created 
things proves wholly false any conception of their creation by a secondary cause. 

14 Brahma himself is the prime soul of Viraj and is identical with him, and Viraj is the soul of creation 
and identical with it. He is the empty vitality of all, and it is from Him that the unreal earth and other 
things have their rise. (Viraj is the spirit of God diffused in nature.) 

15 Rama said, "Tell me whether the individual soul is a limited thing or an unlimited mass of life? Or 
does the unbounded spirit of God exist in the shape of a mountainous heap of individual souls? 16 Are 
these individual souls like showers of rain falling from above, or like the drizzling drops of waves in 
the vast ocean of creation, or like the sparks of fire struck out of a red-hot iron? From where do they 
flow, and by whom are they emitted? 17 Sage, tell me the truth concerning the profusion of individual 
souls. Though I have a partial knowledge of it, I require your more complete and clear explanation." 

18 Vasishta replied: — 

There is only one individual soul of the universe so you can not call it a multitude. Therefore your 
question is quite out of place, like a question about the horns of rabbits. 

19 There are no detached individual souls, O Rama, nor are they to be found in multitudes anywhere, 
nor was there a mountainous heap of souls known to have existed at anytime. 20 "Jiva", the individual 
soul, is only a fictitious word with many more fictions heaped upon it, all of which, as you must know 
for certain, does not apply to the soul. 

21 There is only one pure and immaculate Brahma who is mere Consciousness (chinmatram) and all 
pervasive. He assumes to himself all attributes by His almighty power. (Here Brahma is represented 
not only as omniscient and omnipotent, but also as saguna, with attributes, by his assumption of all 

22 Many regard the individual soul as evolving itself from Consciousness into the many visible and 
invisible forms (murta-mutam), just like a plant is seen to develop itself into its fruits and flowers. 

23 They add the attributes of the living principle — understanding, action, motion, mind and unity and 
duality — to the soul as if these appertain to its nature. 24 But all this is caused by ignorance, while 
right understanding assigns them to Brahma. The ignorant are bewildered by these different views of 
the soul, and they will not be awakened to sense. 25 These different believers are lost in their various 
views like light is lost under darkness. They will never come to the knowledge of truth. 

2 6 Know that Brahma himself is the individual soul without any divisibility or distinction. He is 
without beginning or end. He is omnipotent and is of the form of the great Consciousness which forms 
his essence. 27 His lack of minuteness (his fullness) in all places precludes the ability to give him any 
distinctive name. Whatever attributes are given to him are all to be understood to mean Brahma 

28 Rama asked, "How is it, O holy one, that the totality of the individual souls in the world is guided 
by the will of one Universal Soul that governs the whole and to which all others are subject?" 

29 Vasishta replied: — 

Brahma, the great individual soul and omnipotent power, remained from eternity with his will to 
create without partition or alteration of himself. 30 Whatever is wished by that great soul comes to 
take place immediately. The wish it first formed in its unity became a positive duality at last. Then its 
wish "to be many" became separate existences afterwards. 31 All these dualities of His self-divided 
powers (the different individual souls) had their several routines of action allotted to them, such as 
"this is for that," meaning "this being is for that duty, and such action is for such end." 32 Thus though 
there can be no act without effort (by the general rule as in the case of mortals), yet the predominant 
will of Brahma is always prevailing without effort to action. 

33 Though living beings effect their purposes by exertion of their energies, yet they can effect nothing 
without acting according to the law appointed by the predominant power. 3 4 If the law of the 
predominant power is effective to attain an end, then the exertions of the subordinate powers (the 
individual souls) to that end must also be successful. 35 Thus Brahma alone is the great individual soul 
that exists forever and without end, and these millions of living beings in the world are nothing other 

than agents of the divine energies. 

36 It is with a consciousness of the intellectual soul (the inner knowledge of God within themselves) 
that all individual souls are born in this world. But losing that consciousness (their knowledge of 
God) afterwards, they became alienated from him. 37 Hence men of inferior souls should pursue the 
course of conduct led by superior souls in order to regain their spiritual life (atmajivatwam), just like 
copper becomes transformed into gold (by chemical process). 38 Thus the whole body of living beings 
that had been as nonexistent as air before comes into existence and rises resplendent with wonderful 
intellect. 3 9 Whoever perceives this wonderful intellect in his mind, then gets a body and the 
consciousness of his egoism, is said to be an embodied individual soul. 

40 The mind gratified with intellectual delights becomes as expanded as the intellect itself and thinks 
those pleasures constitute the sum total of worldly enjoyments. 4 1 Consciousness is said to remain 
unchanged in all its succeeding stages, and although it never changes from that state, yet it awakes 
(develops) by a power intrinsic in itself. 42 The uninterrupted activity of Consciousness indulges itself 
in the amusement of manifesting phenomena in the form of the world. 

43 The extent of the intellectual faculty is wider and more rarefied than the surrounding air, yet it 
perceives its distinct egoism by itself and of its own nature. 44 Its knowledge of self springs of itself 
in itself like water in a fountain. It perceives itself (its ego) to be only an atom amidst endless worlds. 

45 It also perceives in itself the beautiful and wonderful world which is amazing to understanding and 
which thereafter is named the universe. 

46 Now Rama, our egoism, being only a conception of the intellect, is a mere fiction (kalpana). The 
elementary principles being only creatures of egoism, they are also fictions of the intellect. 47 Again 
the individual soul being only a result of our acts and desires, you have to renounce these causes in 
order to get rid of your knowledge of "I" and "you" and then, after discarding the fictions of the real 
and unreal, you attain to the knowledge of the true One. 

48 As the sky looks as clear as before after the shadows of clouds are dispersed from it, so the soul, 
after its overshadowing fictions have been removed, looks as bright as it existed at first in 

49 The universe is a vacuum and the world is a name for the field of our exertions. This emptiness is 
the abode of the gods (Vishwa and Viraj, both of whom are formless). The wonderful frame of plastic 
nature is only a form of the formless consciousness and nothing else. 

50 One's nature never leaves him at anytime. How then can a form or figure be given to the formless 
Divinity? 5 1 Divine Intellect is exempt from all the names and forms given to unintelligent worldly 
things, it pervading and enlivening all that shines in the world. (Intellect or consciousness is the 
power of understanding.) 52 The mind, understanding and egoism, with the five elements, hills, skies 
and all other things that compose and support the world, are made of essences proceeding from 
consciousness. (The intellect gathering information contains all things.) 

53 Know that the world is the mind (chitta) of the consciousness (chit) of God because mind does not 
exist without the world. If the world did not exist, that would prove that the mind and consciousness, 
which consist of the world, do not exist. (Therefore, the intelligent world is identical to the mind and 

intellect of God.) 

54 The intellect, like the pepper seed, possesses an exquisite property within itself. Like the flavor of 
pepper, the intellect has the element of the individual soul, which is the element of animated nature. 

5 5 As the mind exerts its power and assumes its sense of egoism, it derives the principle of the 
individual soul from the Intellect, which with its breath of life and action is afterwards called a living 
being. (The mind is what thinks, moves and acts.) 5 6 Consciousness (chit), exhibiting itself as the 
mind (chitta), bears the name of the purpose it has to accomplish which, being temporary and 
changeable, is different from Consciousness and a non-existence. 57 The distinction of actor and act 
does not consist in Consciousness, it being eternal. Neither is Consciousness the author or the work 
itself. But the individual soul, which is active and productive of acts, is called purusha — the 
embodied soul residing in the body. It is action which makes a man purusha, from which is derived 
his manhood (paurusha). 

5 8 Life with the action of the mind constitutes the mind of man. The mind taking a sensitive form 
employs the organs of sense to their different functions. 59 He, the Consciousness whose radiant light 
is the cause of infinite blessings to the world, is both its author and the workmanship from all eternity. 
There is none beside Him. 6 ° Hence the ego or individual soul in its essence is indivisible, 
uninflammable, and incapable of being soiled or dried. It is everlasting and infinite, and as 
immovable as a mountain. 

6 1 There are many that dispute this point, as they in their error dispute other matters and mislead 
others into the same errors. But we are set free from all mistake. 62 The dualist (who makes a 
distinction between eternal and created souls), relying on phenomena, is deceived by their varying 
appearances. But the believer in the formless unity relies on the everlasting blessed Spirit. 

63 Fondness for intellectual culture is attended with the spring blossoms of intellect that are as white 
as the clear sky and as numberless as the parts of time. 

64 Consciousness exhibits itself in the form of the boundless and wonderful universal egg, and it 
breathes out the breath of its own spirit in the same egg. 65 Then it shows itself in the wonderful form 
of the primordial waters, not as they rise from springs or fall into reservoirs, but like those substances 
that constitute the bodies of the best of beings. 66 It next shines forth with its own intellectual light, 
which shines as bright as the humid beams of the full moon. 67 Then as Consciousness rises in full 
light with its internal knowledge, phenomena disappear from sight. In the same way, Consciousness is 
transformed to dullness by dwelling upon gross objects, when it is said to be lying dormant. In this 
state of Consciousness, it is lowered and confined to the earth. 

68 The world is in motion by the force of Consciousness in whose great emptiness it is settled. The 
world is lighted by the light of that Consciousness, and is therefore said to both exist and not exist by 
itself. 69 Like the emptiness of that Intellect, the world is said now to exist and now to be nonexistent. 
Like the light of that Intellect, the world now appears and now disappears from view. 7 ° Like the 
fleeting wind breathed by that Intellect, the world is now in existence and now nonexistent. Like the 
cloudy and unclouded sphere of that Intellect, the world is now in being and now not in being. 71 Like 
the broad daylight of that Intellect, the world is now in existence, and like the disappearance of that 

light, it now becomes nothing. It is formed of the active {rajas) quality of the Intellect, like black 
collyrium eyeliner made from particles of oil. 

72 It is Intellectual fire that gives warmth to the world. It is the alabaster of the Intellect that causes its 
whiteness. The rock of Intellect gives it hardness, and its water causes its fluidity. 73 The sweetness of 
the world is derived from the sugar of the Intellect, and its juiciness from the milk in the Divine Mind. 
Its coldness is from the ice, and its heat from the fire contained in the same. 74 The world is oily by 
the mustard seeds contained in Consciousness and billowy in the sea of the Divine Mind. It is sweet 
by the honey and golden by the gold contained in the same. 7 5 The world is a fruit of the tree of 
Consciousness and its fragrance is derived from the flowers growing in the tree of the mind. It is the 
existence of Consciousness that gives the world its being, and it is the mold of the Eternal Mind that 
gives its form. 

76 The difference is that this world is changing while the clear atmosphere of Consciousness has no 
change in it. The unreal world becomes real when it is seen as full of the Divine Spirit. 7 7 The 
unchanging sameness of the Divine Spirit makes the existence and nonexistence of the world the same. 
The words 'part' and 'whole' are wholly meaningless because both are full with the Divine Spirit. 

78 Shame on those who deride ideas as false talk because the world — with its hills, and seas, earth 
and rivers — is all untrue without the idea of God's presence in it. 79 Consciousness being an unity 
cannot be mistaken for a part of anything. Though it may become as solid as a stone, yet it shines 
brightly in the sphere of its emptiness. 80 It has a clear empty space in its inside, like a transparent 
crystal, that reflects the images of all objects, though it is as clear as the sky. 81 As the lines on the 
leaves of trees are neither parts of the leaves nor distinct from them, so the world situated in 
Consciousness is not part of it or separate from it. 

82 No detached soul is a varied growth, but retains in its nature the nature of consciousness, and 
Brahma is the primary cause of causes. 83 The mind is of its own nature a causal principle, by reason 
of its idea of the Intellect, but its existence is hard to prove when it is insensible and unconscious of 
the Intellect. 84 Whatever is in the root comes out in the tree, just as we see seeds shoot forth in plants 
of its own species. 

85 All the worlds are as empty as emptiness, yet they appear otherwise because they are situated in the 
Great Consciousness. All this is the seat of the Supreme, and you must know it by your exercise of 

Valmiki speaking: — 

86 As the sage spoke these words, the day declined to its evening twilight. The assembly broke with 
mutual salutations, to perform their evening rituals, and, after dispersion of the nocturnal gloom, met 
again at the court hall with the rising sunbeams. 

Chapter 15 — Story of Leela and Saraswati (Padma's Body on the Shrine) 

1 Vasishta said: — 

The world is a void and as null as the pearls in the sky (seen by optical delusion). It is as unreal as 
the soul in the emptiness of consciousness. 2 All its objects appear like un-engraved images on the 
column of the mind that is without any engraving or engraver. 

3 As the motion of waters in the sea causes waves to rise of themselves, so phenomena as they appear 
to us are like waves in the calm spirit of the Supreme. 4 Like sunbeams seen underwater, and like 
water appearing in the sands of the desert (mirage), so it is fancy that paints the world as true to us. 
The world's bulk is like that of an atom appearing like a hill. 5 The fancied world is no more than a 
facsimile of the mind of its maker, just as sunbeams underwater are only reflections of the light above, 
a false idea. 

6 The ideal world is only a castle in the air, and this earth is as unreal as a dream and as false as the 
objects of our desire. 7 In the light of philosophy, the earth that appears solid is no better than the 
water in the mirage of a sandy desert. It is never in existence. 8 In this supposed substantial form of 
the world, the illusive forms of phenomena resemble only castles in the sky and rivers in a mirage. 9 If 
the visible scenes of the world were to be weighed on scales, they would be found to be as light as 
air and as hollow as a vacuum. 

10 The ignorant taken away by the sound of words in disregard of their meanings, when they come to 
their senses, will find that there is no difference between the world and Brahma. n The dull world is 
the issue of Consciousness, like sky is of sunbeams. The light of Consciousness is like the light of the 
rarified rays of the sun that, like water from huge clouds, causes seeds to shoot into plants. 

12 As a city in a dream is finer than one seen in the waking state, so this world that can be seen is as 
subtle as an imaginary one. 1 3 Therefore know the dream world to be the inverse of the conscious 
soul, and the substantive world to be the reverse of the insubstantial vacuum. The words fullness and 
vacuum are both as empty as airy breath because these opposites are only different views of the same 
Consciousness. 14 Therefore know that this visible world is no production at all. It is as nameless as it 
is undeveloped, and as nonexistent as its seeming existence. 

1 5 The universe is the sphere of the spirit of God in infinite space. It has no foundation elsewhere 
except in that Spirit of which it is only a particle filling a space equal to a bit of infinity. 16 It is as 
transparent as the sky and without any solidity at all. It is as empty as empty air and like a city 
pictured in imagination. 

17 Attend now to the story of the Temple which is pleasant to hear and which will impress this truth 
deeply in your mind. 

18 Rama said, "Tell me at once, O holy one, the long and short of the story of the temple, which will 
help my understanding of these things." 

19 Vasishta said: — 

In the past, on the surface of the earth, there lived a king named Padma (Lotus) because he was like 
the blooming and fragrant lotus of his race. Padma was equally blessed with wisdom, prosperity and 

good children. 20 He observed the bounds of his duties, just as the sea preserves the boundaries of 
countries. He destroyed the mist of his adversaries, like the sun dispels the darkness of night. He was 
like the moon to his lotus-like queen, and like burning fire to the hay of evils and crimes. 

21 He was the asylum of the learned, like Mount Mem is the residence of the gods. He was the moon 
of fair fame risen from the ocean of the earth. He was like a lake to the geese of good qualities, and 
like the sun to the lotuses of purity. 22 In warfare, he was like a blast to the vines of his antagonists. 
He was like a lion to the elephants (desires) of his mind. He was the favorite of all learning, a patron 
of the learned, and a mine of all admirable qualities. 23 He stood fixed like Mount Mandara after it 
had churned the ocean of the demons. He was like spring season to the blossoms of joy, and like the 
god of the floral bow to the flowers of blooming prosperity. 24 He was the gentle breeze to the 
shimmering of playful vines, and like the god Vishnu in his valor and energy. He shone like the moon 
on the florets of good manners, and like wildfire to the brambles of licentiousness. 

25 His consort was the happy Queen Leela (Play), playful as her name implied and filled with every 
grace, as if Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, had appeared in person upon earth. 26 She was gentle 
with her submission to her lord, and was sweet in her speech without art. She was always happy and 
slow in her movements, and ever smiling as the moon. 27 Her lovely lotus-white face was decorated 
with painted spots, and her fair form, fresh as a new blown bud, appeared like a moving bed of 

28 She was buxom as a playful plant and bright as a branch of kunda jasmine flowers, full of glee and 
good humor. With her palms red like coral and her fingers white as lilies, she was in her person a 
collection of spring beauties. 29 Her pure form was sacred to touch and conferred joy to the heart, like 
the holy stream of the Ganges exhilarates a flock of swans floating upon it. 

30 Leela was like a second Rati born to serve her lord. Padma was Kama in person on earth to give 
joy to all souls. 31 She was sorry at his sorrow and delighted to see him delightful. She was thoughtful 
to see him pensive. Thus she was an exact picture of her lord, except that she was afraid to find him 

Chapter 16 — The Lives of Queen Leela & King Padma; Leela Performs Tapas to Saraswati; 

Padma's Death 

1 This husband with a single wife enjoyed the pleasure of an undivided and sincere love in the 
company of his only consort, just as with a heavenly nymph iapsard) on earth. 2 The seats of their 
youthful play were gardens and groves, tree gardens of shrubs, and forests of tamara trees. They also 
played in pleasant tree gardens of vines and delightful alcoves of flowers. 3 They delighted 
themselves in the inner apartments on beds decked with fragrant flowers, and on walks strewn with 
fresh blossoms. In spring they amused themselves in the swinging cradles of their pleasure gardens, 
and in summer heat they rowed in their boats. 

4 Their favorite summer resorts were hills overgrown with sandalwood and the shade of forests, the 
groves of nipa and kadamba trees, and canopies of paribhadra and devadaru cedars. 5 They sat beside 
beds of kunda and mandara plants, fragrant with the smell of full-blown flowers, and they strayed 
about the spring-green woods resounding with the melody of nightingales' notes. 6 They enjoyed the 
glossy beds of grassy tufts, the mossy seats of woods and lawns, and water-falls flooding the level 
lands with showers of rain. 7 They often visited mountain ledges overlaid with gems, minerals and 
richest stones, as wells as the shrines of gods and saints, holy hermitages and other places of 
pilgrimage. 8 They frequently haunted lakes of full-blown lotuses and lilies, smiling kumudas of 
various colors, and woodlands darkened by green foliage and overhung with flowers and fruit. 

9 They passed their time in the amorous dalliances of god-like youths. Their personal beauty was 
graced by their generous pastimes of their mutual fondness and affection. 10 They amused each other 
with clever remarks and witticisms and solution of riddles, with story telling and playing tricks of 
hold-fists, and with various games of chess and dice. n They diverted themselves by reading dramas 
and stories, and by interpreting stanzas difficult even for the learned. And sometimes they roamed 
about cities, towns and villages. 

12 They decorated their bodies with wreaths of flowers and ornaments of various kinds. They feasted 
on a variety of flavors, and moved about with playful negligence. 13 They chewed betel leaves mixed 
with moistened mace, camphor and saffron. They hid the love marks on their bodies under the wreaths 
of flowers and coral that adorned them. 14 They frolicked playing hide and seek, tossing wreaths and 
garlands, and swinging one another in cradles decorated with flowers. 1 5 They went on trips in 
pleasure-boats, and on yokes of elephants and tame camels. They played in their pleasure-ponds by 
splashing water on one another. 

16 They had their manly and feminine dances: the sprightly tandava and the merry lasya. They sang 
songs with masculine and feminine voices, the kala and giti. They had enjoyed harmonious and 
pleasing music, playing stringed and percussion instruments. 1 7 In their flowery conveyances they 
passed through gardens and pathways, by rivers and on highways, and into the inner apartments of 
their royal palaces. 

18 The loving and beloved Queen Leela, being thus brought up in pleasure and indulgence, at one time 
thought within herself with a wistful heart, 1 9 "How will my lord and ruler of earth, who is in the 
bloom of youth and prosperity and who is dearer to me than my life, be free from old age and death? 

20 And how will I enjoy his company on beds of flowers in the palace, possessed of my youth and 
free-will, for long, long hundreds of years? 2 l Therefore I will endeavor with all my vigilance, 
prayers, austerities and efforts to know how this moon- faced prince may become free from death and 
decline. 22 1 will ask the most knowing, the most austere, and the very learned brahmins how men may 
evade death." 

23 She accordingly invited the brahmins and honored them with presents, and humbly asked them to 
tell her how men might become immortal on earth. 24 The brahmins replied, "Great queen, holy men 
may obtain success in everything by their austerities, prayers and observance of religious rites, but 
nobody can ever attain to immortality here below." 

25 Hearing this from the mouths of the brahmins, she thought again in her own mind, and with fear for 
the death of her loving lord. 26 "Should it happen that I come to die before my lord, then I shall be 
released from all pain of separation from him, and be quite at rest in myself. 27 But if my husband 
should happen to die before me, even after a thousand years of our lives, I shall so manage it that his 
soul may not depart from the confines of this house. 28 The spirit of my lord will rove about the holy 
vault in this inner apartment and I shall feel the satisfaction of his presence at all times." 

29 "For this purpose, I will start this very day to worship Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, and offer 
my prayers to her, and observe fasts and other rites to my heart's content." 30 Having so determined, 
she began to observe the strict rituals of the scriptures without her lord's knowledge. 

31 She kept her fasts and broke them at the end of every third night. She entertained the gods, brahmins, 
priests and holy people with feasts and due honors. 3 2 She performed her daily ablutions, she 
distributed alms, and she practiced austerities and meditation. In all of these she was painstakingly 
observant of the rules of pious devotion. 33 She also attended to her unaware husband at the stated 
times. To the utmost, she took care of him and performed her duties as required by law and custom. 

34 Thus observant of her vows, with resolute and persevering pains-taking and unfailing austerity, the 
young queen passed a hundred of her three-night ceremonies. 

35 Saraswati, the fair goddess of speech, was pleased at the completion of Leela's hundredth three- 
night ritual in the goddess' honor, performed with all outward and spiritual courtesy. The goddess 
spoke to her saying, 36 "I am pleased, my child, with your continued devotion to me, and your constant 
devotion to your husband. Now ask the boon that you would have of me." 

37 Queen Leela replied, "Be victorious, O moon-bright goddess, to end all the pains of our birth and 
death, and the troubles, afflictions and evils of this world. Like the sun, put to flight the darkness of 
our affections and afflictions in this life. 38 Save me, O goddess and parent of the world. Have pity on 
this wretched devotee and grant her these two boons that she begs of you." 

39 "The one is that after my husband is dead, his soul may not go beyond the precincts of this shrine in 
the inner apartment. 4 ° The second is that whenever I call you, you shall hear my prayer, appear 
before me, and give me your sight and blessing." 

41 Hearing this, the goddess Saraswati said, "Be it so," and immediately disappeared in the air, just 
like a wave subsides in the sea from where it had come into view. 

42 The queen being blessed by the presence and good grace of the goddess, was as delighted as a doe 
at hearing sweet music. 43 The wheel of time rolled on its two semicircles of fortnights, the spikes of 
months, the arcs of the seasons, the loops of days and nights, and the orbits of years. The axle, 
composed of fleeting moments, gave constant momentum to the wheel. 

44 The perceptions of King Padma entered into his subtle body and in a short time, he looked as dry as 
a withered leaf without its juicy gloss. 45 The dead body of the warlike king was laid over a tomb 
inside the palace. Queen Leela began to fade away at its sight, like a lotus flower without the waters 
of its birth. 

46 Her lips grew pale from the hot and poisoned breath of her sorrow. She was in the agony of death, 
like a doe mortally wounded by an arrow. 47 At the death of her lord, her eyes were covered in 
darkness like a house becomes dark when its light is extinguished. 4 8 In her sad melancholy, she 
became leaner every moment. She became like a dried channel covered with dirt instead of water. 
49 She moved one moment and was then mute as a statue. She was about to die of grief, like the ruddy 
goose at the separation of her mate. 50 Then the ethereal goddess Saraswati took pity on the excess of 
her grief, and showed as much compassion for Leela's relief as the first shower of rain does to dying 
fishes in a drying pond. 

Chapter 17 — Leela Sees Padma and His Court in the Spirit World, Checks Her Own Court to 

Make Sure It Still Exists 

1 Saraswati said, "My child, move the dead body of your husband over to that shrine, strew those 
flowers over it, and you shall have your husband again. 2 Never will this body rot or fade as long as 
the flowers are fresh over it. Know that your husband will shortly return to life again. 3 His individual 
soul, pure as air, will never leave this cemetery of your inner apartment." 

4 The black-eyed queen, her eyebrows resembling a cluster of black-bees, heard the goddess' 
consolatory speech and was cheered in spirit, like a lotus-bed upon return of the rains. 5 She placed 
the corpse of her husband on the shrine, hid it under flowers, and remained in expectation of its rising, 
like a poor man fosters hope of finding a treasure. 

6 It was at midnight of the very day, when all the members of the family had fallen fast asleep, that 
Leela went to the shrine in the inner apartment. 7 There, in the recess of her understanding, she 
meditated on the Goddess of Knowledge and called her in earnest from the sorrow of her heart, when 
she heard the divine voice addressing her, 8 "Why do you call me, child? Why are you so sorrowful in 
your face? The world is full of errors, glaring as false water in a mirage." 

9 Leela answered, "Tell me goddess, where does my husband reside at present? What has he been 
doing? Take me to his presence, as I am unable to bear the load of my life without him" 

10 Saraswati replied, "His spirit is now wandering in the sky, of which there are three kinds: the 
physical, the firmament or region of worlds that can be sensed; the other is mental, the region of the 
mind, the seat of will and creation; and the third is the spiritual region of Consciousness which 
contains the two others [bhutakasha, element- space; chittakasha, mind-space; and chidakasha, 
consciousness-space]. n Your husband's soul is now in the sheath of the region of Consciousness. 
Things can be found in consciousness-space which do not exist here." 

12 "As in passing from one place to another you are conscious of standing in between, so you will 
instantly arrive at the intermediate region of the mental world (lying between the physical and 
spiritual worlds). 13 If, after forsaking all your mental desires, you abide in the spiritual world you 
will certainly come to the knowledge of that spiritual Being who comprehends all in Himself. 14 It is 
only by your knowledge of the non-existence of the world that you can come to know the positive 
existence of that Being, as you will now be able to do by my grace, and by no other means whatever." 

15 Vasishta said: — 

So saying, the goddess repaired to her heavenly seat and Leela sat gladly in her mood of steadfast 
meditation. 16 Within a moment, she left the prison house of her body. Her soul broke out of its inner 
bound of the mind to fly freely in the air, like a bird freed from its cage. 17 She ascended to the airy 
region of Consciousness and saw her husband silting there amidst a group of princes and rulers of the 

18 He (as King Viduratha) was sitting on a throne, hailed with the loud shouts of "Long live the king!" 
and "Be he victorious!" His officers were prompt in the discharge of their different duties. 19 The 
royal palace and hall were decorated with rows of flags, and there was an assembly of innumerable 

sages, saints, brahmins and rishis at the eastern entrance of the hall. 20 At the southern porch stood a 
throng of princes and chiefs of men without number, and standing at the western doorway, a bevy of 
young ladies. 21 The northern gateway was blocked by lines of horses, carriages and elephants. 

A guard advanced and informed the king of a war in the Deccan. 22 He said that the Karnatic chief had 
attacked the eastern frontier, and that the chieftain of Surat had subjugated the barbarous tribes on the 
north, and that the ruler of Malwa had besieged the city of Tonkan on the west. 

23 Then there was the reception of the ambassador from Lanka, coming from the coast of the southern 
sea. 24 Next appeared the spiritual masters (siddhas) coming from the Mahendra mountains bordering 
the eastern main, having traversed the many rivers of their river districts. Next appeared the 
ambassador of the Guhyaka or yaksha tribes that inhabited the shores of the northern sea. 25 Likewise 
there were envoys visiting from the shores of the western ocean and relating the state of affairs of that 
territory to the king. The assembly of innumerable chieftains from all quarters filled the entire 
courtyard with luster. 

2 6 The sounds of brahmins chanting on sacrificial altars were drowned under the sound of 
tambourines, shouted announcements, and the loud praises of speakers, all re-echoed by the uproar of 
elephants. 27 The vault of heaven resounded to the sounds of vocal and instrumental music, and the 
dust raised by the procession of elephants and chariots, and the trotting of horses' hoofs, hid the face 
of the sky like a cloud. 28 The fragrance of flowers, camphor and heaps of frankincense perfumed the 
air, and the royal hall was filled with presents sent from different provinces. 29 His fair fame shone 
forth like a burning hill of white camphor raising a column of splendor reaching to the sky and casting 
sunlight into shade. 3 ° There were district rulers busily employed in their grave and momentous 
duties, and great architects who conducted the building of many cities. 

31 Then the ardent Leela entered the royal assembly hall of the ruler of men. She was unseen by any, 
just as one void mixes with another void, and as air is lost in the air. 32 She wandered about without 
anyone there seeing her, just like a fair figure formed by false imagination of our fond desires is not to 
be perceived by anyone outside ourselves. 33 In this manner she continued to walk about the palace 
unperceived by all, just like a castle in the air built in one's mind is not perceived by another. 

34 She saw them all assembled in the royal court in their former forms, and saw all the cities of the 
princes concentrated in that single city of her lord. 35 She viewed the same places, the same dealings, 
the same concourse of children, the same sorts of men and women, and the same ministers as before. 
36 She saw the same rulers of earth and the very same pundits as before; the identical courtiers and the 
same servants as ever. 37 There was the same assembly of learned men and friends as before, and the 
like throng of citizens pursuing their former course of business. 

38 She suddenly saw the flames of wildfire spreading on all sides, even in broad midday light, and the 
sun and moon appearing both at once in the sky, and the clouds roaring with a tremendous noise, with 
the whistling of the winds. 39 She saw trees, hills, rivers and cities flourishing with population, and 
the many towns and villages and forests all about. 40 She saw her royal consort as a boy of ten years 
of age after shaking off his former frame of old age, sitting amidst the hall with all his former retinue, 
and all the inhabitants of his village. 

4 1 Leela, having seen all these, began to reflect within herself whether the inhabitants of this place 
were living beings or the ghosts of their former individual souls. 42 Then having recovered her 
(ordinary) sense at the removal of her trance, she entered her inner apartment at midnight and found 
the residents fast bound in sleep. 43 She woke her sleeping companions one by one and said she was 
anxious to visit the royal hall. 44 She wanted to sit beside the throne of her lord and to clear her doubt 
by seeing the courtiers all alive. 

45 The royal servants rose up at her call and obedient to her command they said, "Be it so" and 
attended to their respective duties. 46 A group of staff-bearers ran to all sides to call the courtiers 
from the city, and sweepers came and swept the ground as clean as if the sun had shed his rays upon 
it. 47 A better set of servants cleaned the courtyard as clean as autumn days clear the sky of its rainy 
clouds. 48 Rows of lights were placed about the courtyard, which looked as beautiful as clusters of 
stars in the clear sky. 4 9 Throngs of people filled the courtyard, like the ancient earth had been 
covered by the floods of the great deluge. 

50 Dignified ministers and chiefs attended first and took their respective seats, appearing as if they 
were a set of newly created rulers of the various peoples of the world, or the regents of the quarters 
of the sky. 51 The cooling and fragrant odor of thickly pasted camphor filled the palace, and the sweet- 
scented breezes profusely breathed the fragrance of the lotus flowers, which they bore from all sides. 
5 2 The chamberlains stood all around in their white garbs, appearing like an assembly of silvery 
clouds hanging over the burning hills under the equator. 53 The morning breeze had strewn heaps of 
flowers over the ground, bright as the beaming dawn dispelling the gloom of night, and bleached as 
clusters of stars fallen upon the ground. 54 The retinue of the chiefs of the land crowded the palace 
which seemed like a lake full of full-blown lotuses with fair swimming swans rambling about. 

55 There Leela took her seat on a golden seat by the side of the throne. She appeared as beautiful as 
Rati seated in the joyous heart of Kama. 56 She saw all the princes seated in their order as before, and 
the elders of the people and the nobles of men and all her friends and relatives seated in their proper 
places. 57 She was highly delighted to see them all in their former states. Her face shone brightly like 
the moon to find them all alive again. 

Chapter 18 — Leela Wonders which World Is Real; Saraswati Explains 

I Leela said, "I have much consolation in you, and now will I console my sorrowing heart." So 
saying, she made a sign for the assembly to break and rose from her royal seat. 2 She entered the inner 
apartment and sat by the side of the dead body of her lord, hidden under the heap of flowers, and 
began to reflect within herself. 

3 She thought, "O the wonderful magic that presents these people of my palace situated in the same 
manner outside myself as I saw them seated within me in my meditation. 4 O how great is the extent of 
this delusion that contains the same high hills and the same spacious forests of palm and hintala trees 
situated both outside and within me. 5 Like a mirror shows the reflection of hills within itself as they 
are without it, so the reflector of the intellect presents the whole creation inwardly as it has outside of 
itself. 6 1 must now invoke the goddess of wisdom to determine which of these is illusion and which 
the sober and certain reality." 

7 So thinking, she worshipped and invoked the goddess, and immediately saw Saraswati in the form of 
a virgin. 8 She made the goddess sit on an elevated seat and, having seated herself low upon the 
ground before her, asked that divine power to tell her the truth. 9 Leela said, "Be gracious, O goddess, 
and clear this doubt of your suppliant, for it is your wisdom that first framed this beautiful system of 
the universe and knows the truth. 10 Tell me, O great goddess, about what I am now going to relate 
you, for it is by your favor alone that I may be successful to know it." 

II "I saw the pattern of this world in the intellect, which is more transparent than the ethereal sphere 
and so extensive that it contains millions and millions of miles in its small space. 1 2 No definite 
words can express what is known as the calm, cool and indescribable light. This is called 
unintelligible intelligence and is without any cover or support {niravarana nirbhitti). 13 It exhibits the 
reflections of space and the course of time, and those of the sky and its light, and the course of events 
concentrating in itself. 14 Thus the images of the worlds are to be seen both within and outside the 
intellect, and it is hard to distinguish the real and unreal ones between them" 

15 The goddess asked, "Tell me fair maiden, what is the nature of the real world, and what you mean 
by its unreality?" 

16 Leela replied, "I know the real is where I find myself silting here and looking upon you as seated in 
this place. 17 What I mean by unreal is the state in which I saw my husband in the ethereal region some 
time ago, because emptiness has no limit of time or place in it." 

1 8 The goddess replied, "Real creation cannot produce an unreal figure. A similar cause cannot 
produce a dissimilar effect." 

19 Leela replied, "But O goddess, we often see dissimilar effects produced from similar causes. The 
earth and an earthen pot are similar in substance, yet one melts in water and the other holds water." 

20 The goddess said, "Yes, when an act is done by the aid of auxiliary means, there the effect is found 
to be somewhat different from the primary cause." (Thus the earthen pot being produced by the 
auxiliary appliances of fire, the potter's wheel and the like, differs in its quality from the original 

21 "Say, O beautiful maiden, what were the causes of your husband being born in this earth? The same 
led to his birth in the other world also. 22 When the soul has fled from here, how can the material earth 
follow him and what auxiliary causes can there be in connection with this cause? 23 Whenever there is 
a contributing cause in addition to the apparent cause, everyone usually attributes the result to some 
unknown prior cause or motive." 

24 Leela said, "I think, O goddess, that the expansion of my husband's memory caused of his 
regenerations, because it is certain that memory is the cause of the reproduction of objects before us." 

25 The goddess replied that memory is an aerial substance and its productions are as unsubstantial as 

26 Leela said, "Yes I find memory to be an airy thing, and its reproduction of my husband and all other 
things within me are only empty shadows in the mind." 

27 The goddess replied, "Therefore your husband and all those other things that appeared to your sight 
in your reverie truly were such reproductions, my daughter. And so is the appearance of all things I 
see in this world." 

28 Leela said, "Tell me goddess, in order to remove my conception of the reality of the world, how the 
false appearance of my formless lord was produced before me by the unreal world." 

29 The goddess replied, "As this illusionary world appeared a reality to you before you had memories 
of it, so you must know that all this is unreal from what I am going to relate to you." 

Saraswati speaking: — 

30 In some part of the sphere of Consciousness there is the great fabric of the world, with the glassy 
vault of the firmament for its roof on all sides. 3 1 Mount Mem (the polar axle or mountain) is its 
pillar, surrounded by the regents of the ten sides, like statues carved upon it. The fourteen regions are 
like so many apartments of it, and the hollow vault containing the three worlds is lighted by the lamp 
of the luminous sun. 3 2 Its corners are inhabited by living creatures resembling ants. They are 
surrounded by mountains appearing as anthills in the sight of Brahma, the prime lord of creatures and 
the primeval patriarch of many races of men. 33 All animal beings are like worms confined in cocoons 
of their own making. 

The blue skies above and below are like the soot of this house, beset by bodies of departed spirits 
resembling groups of gnats buzzing in the air. 34 The fleeting clouds are the smoke of this house or like 
spider webs in its corners, and the hollow air is full of aerial spirits, like holes of bamboos filled 
with flies. 35 There are also the playful spirits of gods and demigods hovering over human houses like 
swarms of busy, buzzing bees about vessels of honey. 36 Here and there, amidst the cavity of heaven, 
earth and the infernal regions, lay tracts of land well watered by rivers, lakes and the sea on all sides. 

37 In a corner of this land was a secluded piece of ground sheltered by hills and crags about it. 38 In 
this secluded spot sheltered by hills, rivers and forests, there lived a holy brahmin man with his wife 
and children, free from disease and care of gain and fear of a ruler. He passed his days in his fire- 
worship and hospitality with the produce of his cattle and lands. 

Chapter 19 — Story of a Former Vasishta & Arandhati 

Vasishta relating the story ofLeela, Saraswati speaking to Leela: — 

1 In his age and attire, in his learning and wealth, and in all his actions and pursuits, this holy man was 
equal to his namesake, except in his profession. (The one being a secular man, and the other the priest 
of the royal family). 2 His name was Vasishta. 

His wife was Arundhati, fair as the moon and like the star of the same name visible from earth. 3 She 
resembled her namesake, the priestess of the solar race, in her virtues and parts and in all things, 
except in her soul and body. 4 She passed her time in true love and affection in the company of her 
husband, and she was his all in the world, with her sweet smiling face resembling a kumuda flower. 

5 Once this holy man had been sitting under the shady sarala trees, on the tableland of his native hill, 
when he saw the ruler of the land passing below with his gaudy train. 6 He was accompanied by all 
the members of the royal family and his troops and soldiers. They were going to a hunt with a clamor 
that resounded in the hills and forests. 7 The white flapper fans shed a stream of moonlight, the lifted 
banners appeared like a moving forest, and the white umbrellas made a canopy of the sky. 8 The air 
was filled with dust raised by the horses' hoofs, and the lines of elephants with their high pavilion 
saddles seemed like moving towers that protect them from the heat of the sun and the hot winds. 9 The 
loud uproar of the party, resembling the roaring of a whirlpool, made wild animals run on all sides. 
Shining gems and jewels were flashing all about on the bodies in the party. 

10 The holy man saw this procession and thought to himself, "O how charming is royalty, filled with 
such splendor and prosperity! n Ah, how shall I become the monarch of all the ten sides, and have 
such a retinue of horse, elephants and foot soldiers, with a similar train of flags, flappers and blazing 
umbrellas? 12 When will the breeze gently blow the fragrance of kunda flowers and the powdered dust 
of lotuses to my bed-chamber to lull me and my consorts to sleep? 13 When shall I adorn the faces of 
my chamber maids with camphor and sandal paste, and enlighten the faces of the four quarters with 
my fair fame, like the moonbeams decorate the night?" 

14 With these thoughts, the holy man determined that for the rest of his life, he would apply himself 
vigilantly to the rigid austerities of his religion. 1 5 At last, he was overtaken by infirmities which 
shattered his body, like the sleets of snowfall batter the blooming lotuses in the lake. 1 6 Seeing his 
approaching death, his faithful wife was fading away with fear, like a vine withers at the departure of 
spring for fear of the summer heat. 17 Arundhati then began to worship me, as you yourself have, in 
order to obtain the boon of immortality which is hard to be had. 

18 She prayed, "Ordain, O goddess, that the spirit of my lord may not depart from this tomb after his 
death." I granted her request. 

19 After some time Vasishta the holy man died and his empty spirit remained in the emptiness of that 
home. 20 By virtue of the excessive desire and merit of acts in his former state of existence, this aerial 
spirit of the holy man assumed the shape of a mighty man on earth. 2 1 He became the victorious 
monarch of the three realms. By his might he subjugated the surface of the earth. By his valor he 
conquered the high mountains (of the gods). By his kind protection, the nether lands were under his 
sway. 22 He was like a raging fire to the forest of his enemies, and like the steadfast Mount Meru 

amidst the rushing winds of business on all sides. He was like the sun expanding the lotus-like hearts 
of the virtuous. To the eyes of women he was like the god Kama. 23 He was the model of all learning, 
and the all giving wish- fulfilling tree to his suitors. He was the footstool of great scholars. He was 
like the full moon shedding ambrosial beams of enlightened rule all around. 

2 4 But after the holy brahmin had died, and his dead body had disappeared into the forms of 
elementary particles in air, and his airy spirit had rested in the aerial intellectual soul within the 
empty space of his house, 25 his holy brahmin widow, Arundhati, was pining away in her sorrow, and 
her heart was rent in twain like a dried pea pod. 26 She became a dead body like her husband. Her 
spirit, by shuffling off its mortal coil, resumed its subtle and immortal form in which it met the 
departed ghost of her husband. 27 She advanced to her lord as rapidly as a river runs to meet the sea 
below its level. She was as cheerful to join him as a cluster of flowers inhale the spring air. 

2 8 The houses, lands and all the immovable properties and movable riches of this holy brahmin 
Vasishta still exist in that rocky village, and it has been only eight days since the souls of this loving 
pair were reunited in the hollow vault of their house. 

Chapter 20 — Saraswati Explains Leela's Former Life as Arundhati 

1 Saraswati said to Leela, "That brahmin whom I described before, the one who become a monarch on 
earth, is the same as your husband. His wife Arundhati is no other than yourself, the best of women. 

2 You two are the same pair now reigning over this realm, resembling a pair of doves in your nuptial 
love, and the gods Shiva and Parvati in your might." 

3 "I have related your past lives to you so that you may know the individual soul to be only air, and 
that knowledge of its reality is an error. 4 False knowledge casts its reflection on consciousness and 
causes its error also. (Errors in the senses breed errors in the mind.) This makes you doubtful of the 
truth and untruth of the two states (of the material and intellectual worlds). 5 Therefore the question, 
'Which is true and which is untrue?' has no better answer than that all creations are equally false and 

6 Vasishta said: — 

Hearing these words of the goddess, Leela was confused in her mind, and with her eyes staring with 
wonder, she addressed her softly. 

7 Leela said, "How is it, O goddess, that your words are so incoherent with truth. You make us the 
same as the brahmin couple who are in their own house. We are sitting here in our palace. 8 How is it 
possible that the small space of the room in which my husband's body is lying could contain those 
spacious lands and hills and the ten sides of the sky? 9 It is as impossible as confining an elephant in a 
mustard seed, or a gnat fighting with a body of lions in a nutshell. 10 It is as incredible as to believe a 
lotus seed contains a hill, or to be devoured by a little bee, or that peacocks are dancing hearing the 
roaring of clouds in a dream. 1 1 O great goddess of gods, it is equally improbably to say that this 
earth, with all its mountains and other things, is contained within the small space of a sleeping room. 

12 Therefore, O goddess, please explain this mystery clearly to me, because it is by your favor only 
that the learned are cleared of their questions." 

13 The goddess Saraswati said: — 

Hear me, fair maiden! I did not tell you a lie. Transgression of the law is a thing unknown to us. (The 
law is nanritam vadeta — never tell an untruth.) 14 It is I who established the law when others are 
about to break it. If I should slight the law, who else is there who would observe it? 

15 The individual soul of the village brahmin saw within itself and in his own house the image of this 
great kingdom, just as his departed spirit now sees the same in its empty void. (Therefore both these 
states are equally ideal.) 16 After death you lost the memories of your former lives, just like one loses 
memories of waking events when in the dream state. 17 All are like the appearance of the three worlds 
in dream, or their formation in the imagination, or like the description of warfare in an epic poem, or 
like water in the mirage of a sandy desert. 1 8 The hills and houses seen in the empty space of the 
brahmin's house were nothing but the capacity of his own mind to form the images of its fancy and 
receive the external impressions like a reflecting mirror. 1 9 All these, though unreal, appear as real 
substances on account of the reality of consciousness which is seated in the cavity of the innermost 
sheath of the body and reflects the images. 20 But these images derived from the memories of unreal 
objects of the world are as unreal as those objects which cast their reflections upon consciousness. 

Waves rising in the river of a mirage are as unreal as the mirage itself. 

2 l Know that this chair sitting in this room of your house, as well as myself and yourself and 
everything else about us, are only the reflections of our consciousness, without which nothing would 
be perceptible. 22 Our dreams and fallacies, our desires and fancies, and also our notions and ideas 
serve as the best evidence to understand this truth (that nothing is true beside the subjective mind, 
which creates and forms, produces and presents all objects to our view). 

23 The spirit of the brahmin resided in the emptiness of his house (the body), with the seas, forests and 
the earth within itself, like a bee lives in the lotus. 24 Thus the habitable earth with everything it 
contains is situated in a small cell in one corner of consciousness, like a spot of flimsy cloud in the 
sky. 25 The house of the holy brahmin was situated in the same locality of consciousness which 
contains all the worlds in one of its atomic particles. 26 Every atom of the intelligent soul contains 
unnumbered worlds within worlds, enough to remove your doubt of the brahmin being able to see an 
entire kingdom within the space of his intellect. 

27 Leela asked, "How can we be the brahmin couple when they died only eight days before and we 
have been reigning here for so many years?" 

28 The goddess replied: — 

In reality, there is neither any limit of space or time, nor any distance of place or length of time. Hear 
me now tell you the reason why. 

29 As the universe is the reflection of the Divine Mind, so are infinity and eternity but representations 
of Himself. 30 Listen to what I tell you about how we form the idea of time and its subdivisions, 
whether a moment or an age. It is the same way that we make distinctions among the individuals that 
are me, you and this or that person. 

3 1 As soon as one feels the lack of senses after his death, he forgets his former nature and thinks 
himself to be another being. 32 Then, in the twinkling of an eye, he assumes an empty form in the 
womb of emptiness and in that container he thinks within himself, 33 "This is my body with its hands 
and feet." Thinking about body, he finds it presented before him. 34 Then he thinks in himself, "I am 
the son of this father and am so many years old. These are my dear friends and this is my pleasant 
home. 35 1 was born and became a boy, and then grew up to this age. There are all my friends and in 
the same course of their lives." 36 Thus the compact density of the sphere of his soul presents him with 
many other images that appear to arise in it as in some part of the world. 37 But they neither rise nor 
remain in the soul itself, which is as transparent as empty air. They appear to consciousness like a 
vision seen in a dream 

38 A person dreaming remains in one place but sees all manners of things in different places. 
Everything in the other world appears equally real, just like in his dream. 39 Again, whatever is seen 
in the other world, the same occurs to men in their present states also. The unreality of the world of 
dreaming and the reality of this physical world are alike. 40 Just like there is no difference among the 
waves of the same seawater, so the produced visible creation is the same as the unproduced 
intellectual world, both of which are equally indestructible. 

4 1 But in reality, the appearance is nothing but a reflection of consciousness which, apart from the 
intelligible spirit, is merely an empty void. 4 2 Although presided over by the intelligible spirit, 
creation itself is a mere void, its only substance being the intelligible soul, like water is to waves. 

43 Waves though formed of water are themselves as unreal as the horns of hares. Their appearance as 
natural objects is altogether false (because they are the effects of the auxiliary cause of the winds that 
have raised them). 44 Therefore, there being no visible object in reality, how can the observer have 
any idea of materiality which loses its delusion at the moment of his death? 

45 After the visible outer world has disappeared from sight, the soul, in its inner world of the mind, 
reflects on its memories of creation according to the proper time and place of everything. 4 6 It 
remembers its birth, its parents, its age and its residence, with its learning and all other pursuits in 
their exact manner and order. 47 It thinks of its friends and servants, and of the success and failure of 
its attempts. The uncreated and incorporeal soul, in its intellectual form, reflects on the events of its 
created and corporeal state. 

48 However, it does not remain in this state for long. Soon after death it enters a new body to which 
the properties of the mind and senses are added afterwards in their proper times. 49 It then becomes a 
baby, finds a new father and mother, and begins to grow. Thus whether one may perceive it or not, it 
is all the product of his former memories. 50 Then upon waking from this state of trance, like a fruit 
from the cell of a flower, it comes to find that a single moment appeared to it as the period of an age. 

51 It was in this way that in times past, King Harish Chandra thought one night to be twelve years. One 
day seems like a year to those who are separated from their beloved objects. 52 Again, it is all false, 
whether the birth or death of someone in his dream, or being born and recognizing a father in infancy, 
or a hungry man imagining he is dining on dainty food. 53 So who would believe a satisfied man after 
eating who says he is starving, or one who declares that he is an eyewitness of something he had not 
seen, or an empty space full of people, or that someone found lost treasure in his dream? 

54 But this visible world rests in the invisible spirit of God, like the properly of pungency resides in 
the particles of the pepper seed, and like the painted pictures on a column. But where are the open and 
clear sighted eyes to perceive this? 

55 The vision of Leela, called samadhi in yoga and clairvoyance of spiritualism, was the abstract 
meditation of her lord in her memory that presented her with a full view of everything imprinted on it. 
Memory is taken for the whole consciousness (chit), which is identified with God in whose essence 
the images of all things are said to be eternally present. 

Chapter 21 — Saraswati Explains the Practice of Meditation, Astral Travel 

Saraswati continues speaking to Leela: — 

I Soon after death occasions the lack of physical senses, the sight of the world appears to the soul as 
if he were seeing it with open eyes when he was living. 2 Before him is presented the circle of the sky 
and its sides with the cycle of its seasons and times. He is shown the deeds of his pious and mundane 
acts, as if they were to continue to eternity. 3 Objects never before seen or thought of also offer 
themselves to his view, like the sight of his own death in a dream, as if they were the prints in his 
memory. 4 But the infinity of objects appearing in the empty sphere of the non-physical intellect is 
mere illusion, and the baseless city of the world, like a castle in the sky, is only the creation of 

5 Memory of the past world makes it known to us. Therefore, the length of a kalpa age and the 
shortness of a moment are only false impressions proceeding from the speed and slowness of our 

6 Therefore knowledge based upon previous memories or otherwise is of two kinds, and things known 
without their cause are attributed to Divine Intelligence. 7 We are also conscious of thoughts that we 
have not thought of before in our minds, such as we often have in our dreams. Another may remind us 
of our deceased parents, so we think of them. 8 Sometimes genius supersedes the province of memory, 
as in the first creation or discovery of a thing, which afterwards is continued by its memory. 

9 According to some, those visible worlds are said to have remained in their ideal state in the Divine 
Mind. According to others, there were no pre-existent notions of these in the mind of God. 

10 According to some others, the world manifested itself not from memory but by the power and will 
of God. Still others maintain it to be the production of a sudden, fortuitous combination of intelligence 
and atomic principles (kakataliya sanyoga). 

I I Completely forgetting the world is called liberation. That cannot be had if consciousness is 
attached to what is desirable or is averse to the undesirable. 12 It is difficult to effect an entire 
negation of both one's subjective and objective knowledge of his self and the existence of the outer 
world. Yet nobody can be freed without the obliteration of both. 

13 As the fallacy of taking a rope for a snake is not removed until the meaning of the word snake is 
known to be inapplicable to the rope, so no one can have rest and peace of mind unless he is 
convinced of the illusory nature of the world. 14 Even with that, a person who is at peace with himself 
cannot be wholly at rest without divine knowledge because, even though he has rid himself of the 
devil of worldliness, the ghost of his inner ignorance may overtake him. 15 The world is certainly a 
monster in itself without the knowledge of its Author, but the difficulty of knowing the First Cause has 
rendered it an impassable wilderness. 

16 Leela said, "If memories are the cause of one's reincarnation, then, O goddess, tell me what were 
the causes of the birth of the brahmin couple, without the vestiges of their past memories? 

17 The goddess replied: — 

Know that Brahma the first progenitor of mankind, who was absolute in himself, did not retain any 

vestige of his past memories in him. 18 The first born, who had nothing to remember of a prior birth, 
was born in the lotus with his own intelligence ichaitanyd) and not because of his memory. 1 9 The 
Lord of Creatures being thus born by chance of his own genius or creative power, and without any 
assignable cause or design on his part, reflected within himself, "Now I am become another and the 
source of creation." 

2 ° Whatever is born of itself is like a nothing that was never produced at all, but remains as the 
absolute intellect itself in the clouds (chinnabhas) . 21 The Supreme Being is the sole cause of both 
types of memories (those caused by vestiges of prior impressions, and those produced by prior 
desires). Both conditions of cause and effect are combined in Him in the sphere of his consciousness. 
22 Therefore our tranquility can only come from knowing that cause and effect are the same and that 
the auxiliary cause is in Him 

2 3 Cause and effect are mere empty words of no significance because it is the recognition of the 
Universal Consciousness that constitutes true wisdom. 24 Nothing seen in the physical world or known 
in the mental or spiritual worlds is ever produced. Everything exists within the consciousness of 
one's own soul. 

25 Leela said, "What a wonderful sight you have shown me, O goddess. It is as auspicious as morning 
light and as brilliant as lightning. 2 6 Now goddess, please satisfy my curiosity until I become 
thoroughly familiar with this knowledge through my intense application and study. 27 Kindly take me 
to that that mountainous place where the brahmin couple, Vasishta and Arundhati, lived and show me 
their house." 

28 The goddess replied: — 

If you want to see that sight, you have to be immaculate. You must give up your personality and your 
ego-sense and attain awareness of the unintelligible Consciousness within the soul. 29 Then you will 
find yourself in an empty atmosphere situated in the sky that resembles the prospects of earthly men 
and the apartments of the firmament {i.e., nothing). 30 In this state we shall be able to see them (the 
field of another's imagination) with all their possessions and without any obstruction. Otherwise this 
body is a great barrier in the way of spiritual vision. 

3 1 Leela said, "Tell me kindly, O goddess, the reason why do we not see the other world with these 
eyes, or go there with these our bodies." 

32 The goddess replied: — 

The reason is that you take the true future as false, and you believe the untrue present as true. These 
worlds that are formless appear to your eyes as having forms, just like you see the form of a ring 
when its substance is gold. 33 Gold, though fashioned into a circle, has no curve in it. The spirit of 
God appearing in the form of the world is not the world itself. 34 The world is an emptiness full with 
the spirit of God. Whatever is visible is like dust appearing to fly over the sea. 

35 The ultimate substance of the world is all a false illusion. The true reality is the subjective Brahma 
alone. Our guides in Vedanta philosophy and the conviction of our consciousness are evidence of this 

36 The believer in Brahma sees Brahma alone and no other anywhere. He looks to Brahma through 
Brahma himself, as the creator and preserver of all, and whose nature includes all other attributes in 
itself. 37 Brahma is known not only as the author of His work of the creation of worlds, but as existent 
of himself without any causation or auxiliary causation. 

38 The practice of meditation trains you to disregard all duality and variety and to rely only on one 
unity. Until you are trained through your practice of meditation, you are barred from viewing Brahma 
in his true light. 39 By constant practice of meditation, we become settled in this belief of unity, and 
we rest in the Supreme Spirit. 40 Then we find our bodies to be an aerial substance that mixes with the 
air, and at last, with these our mortal frames, we are able to come to the sight of Brahma. 4 1 Being 
endowed with pure, enlightened and spiritual frames (astral or subtle bodies), like those of Brahma 
and the gods, the holy saints are placed in some part of the divine essence. 

42 Without the practice of meditation, you cannot approach God with your mortal frame. A soul sullied 
by physical sensation can never see the image of God. 43 It is impossible for one to arrive at another's 
castle in the sky, when he is unable to see the castle in the sky that he himself imagined. 

44 Therefore, give up your gross body and assume your light intellectual frame. Immerse yourself in 
the practice of yoga so that you may see God face to face. 45 It is possible to labor and build castles in 
the air. In the same way, it is possible through the practice of yoga, and in no other way, to behold 
God, either with this body or without it. 

46 Ever since the creation of this world (by the will of Brahma), there have been false conceptions of 
its existence. It has been attributed to an eternal fate, niyati (by fatalists), and to an illusory power, 
may a shakti (of Maya vadis). 

47 Leela asked, "O goddess, you said that we both shall go to the abode of the brahmin couple, but I 
ask you, how is that possible? 48 1 am able to go there with the pure essence of my sentient soul. But 
tell me, how will you who are pure intellect (chetas) go to that place?" 

49 The goddess replied: — 

I tell you lady, Divine Will is an aerial tree and its fruits are as unsubstantial as air, having no figure 
or form or substance to them. 50 Whatever is formed by the will of God from the pure essence of His 
intelligent nature is only a likeness of Himself and bears little difference from its original. 51 My body 
is the same and I need not lay it aside. I find that place with my body like a breeze finds odors. 52 As 
water mixes with water, fire with fire, and air with air, so does this spiritual body easily join with 
any material form that it likes. 53 But a physical body cannot mix with an non-physical substance, nor 
can a solid rock become the same as the idea of a hill. 

54 Your body has its mental and spiritual parts. It has become physical because of its habitual 
tendency towards the physical. 5 5 Your physical body becomes spiritual (ativahika) by leaning 
towards spirituality, as in your sleep, your protracted meditation, and your unconsciousness to fancies 
and reveries. 56 Your spiritual nature will return to your body when your earthly desires are lessened 
and curbed within the mind. 

57 Leela said, "Say goddess, what happens to the spiritual body after it has attained its compactness 

by constant practice of yoga? Does it becomes indestructible or does it perish like all other finite 

58 The goddess replied: — 

Anything that exists is perishable and, of course, liable to death. But how can something die that is 
nothing and is imperishable in its nature? 59 Again, once we realize the mistake of thinking a rope to 
be a snake, the snake disappears of itself and no one mistakes the rope anymore. 60 Thus, as the true 
knowledge of the rope removes the false conception of the snake in it, so the recognition of the 
spiritual body dispels the misconception of its materiality. 61 All imagery is at an end when there is no 
image at all, just like the art of carving statues must cease if there is no more stone. 

62 We clearly see our bodies as full of the spirit of God. Your gross understanding keeps you from 
seeing this. 63 In the beginning, when consciousness (chit) is engrossed with the imagination of the 
mind, it loses sight of the One. 

64 Leela asked, "But how can imagination trace out anything in that unity in which the divisions of time 
and space and all things are lost in an undistinguishable mass?" 

65 The goddess replied: — 

Like the bracelet in gold, waves in water, the show of truth in dreams, and the appearance of castles 
in the sky 66 all vanish upon an accurate perception, so the imaginary attributes of the unpredictable 
God are all nothing whatever. 67 Just like there is no dust in the sky, no attribute or partial properly 
can be ascribed to God whose nature is indivisible and unimaginable, who is an unborn unity, tranquil 
and all-pervading. 68 Whatever shines about us is the pure light of that Being who scatters His luster 
all around like a transcendental gem. 

69 Leela said, "If it is so at all times, then tell me, O goddess, how did we happen to fall into the error 
of attributing duality and diversity to His nature?" 

70 The goddess replied: — 

It was your ignorance that for so long has led you to error. The natural bane of mankind is the absence 
of reasoning, and it requires remedying by your attending to reason. 71 When reason takes the place of 
ignorance, in a moment it introduces the light of knowledge in the soul instead of its former darkness. 
72 As reason advances, your ignorance and your bondage to prejudice are put to flight. Then you have 
an unobstructed liberation and pure understanding in this world. 73 As long as you remained without 
reasoning on this subject, you were either sleeping or wandering in error. 

74 Now your reason and liberation are awakened and the seeds for the suppression of your desires are 
sown in your heart. 75 At first, the nature of this physical world was neither apparent to you nor you to 
it. How long will you reside in it and what other desires have you here? 76 Withdraw your mind from 
its thoughts of the viewer, the visible, and the vision of this world. Settle your mind on the idea of the 
entire negation of all existence. Fix your meditation solely upon the Supreme Being and sit in a state 
of unalterable unconsciousness. 77 When the seed of renunciation has taken root and germinated in 
your heart, the sprouts of your likes and dislikes will be destroyed of themselves. 7 8 Then the 
impression of the world will be utterly effaced from the mind and an unshaken anesthesia will 

overtake you all at once. 

7 9 Remaining entranced in your abstract meditation, in process of time you will have a soul as 
luminous as a star in the clear sky of heaven, free from the links of all causes and their effects for 

Chapter 22 — Practice of Wisdom (Vijnana-Bhyasa) 

I The goddess continued: — 

Objects seen in a dream prove to be false on being awaken. Similarly, belief in the reality of the body 
becomes unfounded upon dissolution of our desires. 2 As a thing dreamt of disappears upon waking, 
so does the waking body disappear in sleep, when desires lie dormant in the soul. 

3 As our physical bodies awake after dreaming and desiring, so our spiritual bodies awake after we 
cease to think of our physical states. 4 In deep sleep we are devoid of desires. Similarly, in the state 
of renunciation, even though we are awake in our physical bodies, we have the tranquility of 
liberation. 5 The desire of men liberated while living (jivan mukta) is not properly any desire at all. It 
is a pure desire relating to universal wellbeing and happiness. 

6 The sleep in which the will and wish are dormant is called deep sleep, but the dormancy of desires 
in the waking state is known as unconsciousness to delusion (moha) or unconsciousness (murchha). 

7 Again the deep sleep that is wholly devoid of desire is called the turiya or the fourth stage of yoga. 
In the waking state it is called samadhi or union with Supreme. 

8 The embodied man whose life is freed from all desires in this world is called the liberated while 
living {jivan mukta), a state unknown to those who are not liberated. 9 When the mind becomes a pure 
essence (as in samadhi) and its desires are weakened, it becomes spiritualized (ativahika) and it 
glows and flows, like snow melts to water by application of heat. 1 ° The spiritualized mind, being 
awakened, mixes with the holy spirits of departed souls in the other world. 

II When your sense of individual ego is moderated by your practice of meditation, then the perception 
of invisible will rise of itself clearly before your mind. 1 2 When spiritual knowledge gains a firm 
footing in your mind, you will perceive more other worlds than you expect. 13 Therefore, O blameless 
lady, try your utmost to deaden your desires. When you have gained sufficient strength in that practice, 
know yourself to be liberated in this life. 

14 When the moon of your intellectual knowledge shines fully with its cooling beams, you shall have 
to leave your physical body here in order to see the other worlds. 15 Your fleshy body has no tangible 
connection with one that is without flesh, nor can the intellectual body (lingadeha, astral body) 
perform any action of the physical system. 

16 1 have told you all this according to my best knowledge and the state of things as they are. Even 
children know that what I say is as effective as the curse or blessing of a god. 

17 The habitual reliance of men upon their gross bodies and their fond attachment to them bind their 
souls down to the earth. The weakening of earthly desires serves to clothe them with spiritual bodies. 

1 8 Nobody believes that he has a spiritual body, even at his death bed, but everyone thinks a dying 
man is dead with his body forever. 19 This body however, neither dies nor is it alive at anytime. Both 
life and death, in all respects, are mere appearances of aerial dreams and desires. 20 The life and 
death of beings here below are as false as the appearances and disappearance of people in 
imagination, or dolls in play or puppet shows. 

21 Leela said, "O goddess, the pure knowledge that you have given me has fallen on my ears acts like 

a healing balm to the pain caused by phenomena. 22 Now tell me the name and nature of the practice 
for spiritualization. How it is to be perfected and what is the end of such perfection?" 

23 The goddess replied: — 

Whatever a man attempts to do here at anytime, he can hardly ever complete it without painful 
practice to the utmost of his power. 24 The wise say that practice consists in the association of one 
thing with another, in understanding it thoroughly, and in devoting oneself solely to his object. 

25 Great souls become successful in this world who are disgusted with the world and are moderate in 
their enjoyments and desires. They do not think about seeking what they lack. 26 Those great minds are 
said to be best trained who are graced with liberal views, are delighted with the relish of unconcern 
with the world, and are enraptured with streams of heavenly joy. 27 Again, they are called the best 
practiced in divine knowledge who, by the light of reasoning and scripture, are employed preaching 
the absolute non-existence of any distinction between the knower and what is known in this world. 

28 What some call practical knowledge is knowing that nothing was produced in the beginning and 
nothing that is visible, such as this world or one's self, is true at anytime. 

29 The effect of practicing meditation is a strong tendency of the soul towards the spirit of God, which 
results from an understanding of the non-existence of the visible world and the subsidence of 
passions. 30 But mere knowledge of the nonexistence of the world, without subduing passions, is 
known as knowledge without practice, and is of no value to its possessor. 3 1 Consciousness of the 
non-existence of the visible world is the true knowledge of the knowable. The practice of meditation 
makes this knowledge a habit in the mind and leads one to his final extinction (nirvana) . 3 2 The 
practice of meditation prepares the mind and awakens the intelligence which lay dormant in the dark 
night of this world. Consciousness then sheds its cooling showers of reason, like dew drops in the 
frosty night of autumn. 

Valmiki speaking: — 

3 3 As the sage was lecturing in this manner, the day departed for its evening service and led the 
assembled train to their evening prayers. After the rising beams of the sun dispelled the darkness of 
night, they met again with mutual greetings. 

Chapter 23 — Saraswati & Leela Meditate & Begin Astral Travel 

I Vasishta said: — 

After this conversation between Goddess Saraswati and the excellent Leela on that night, the two of 
them found Leela's family and attendants fast asleep in the inner apartment. 2 Saraswati and Leela 
entered the shrine that was closely shut on all sides by latches fastened to the doors and windows, and 
which was perfumed with the fragrance of heaps of flowers. 3 They sat beside the corpse decorated 
with fresh flowers and garments. Their faces shone like the fair full moon and brightened the place. 

4 They stood motionless on the spot, as if they were sculptures engraved on marble columns, or 
pictures drawn upon the wall. 

5 They shook off all their thoughts and cares, and became as withdrawn as the faded blossoms of the 
lotus at the end of the day when their fragrance has fled. 6 They remained still, calm and quiet and 
without any motion of their limbs, like a sheet of clouds hanging on the mountain top in the calm of 
autumn. 7 They continued in fixed attention without any external sensation, like some lonely vines 
shriveled for lack of moisture (in samadhi meditation). 8 They were fully impressed with the disbelief 
of their own existence, and that of all other things in the world. They were completely absorbed in the 
thought of an absolute privation of everything at large. 9 They lost memory of the phantom of the 
phenomenal world, which is as unreal as the horn of a hare. 10 What had no existence in the beginning 
is still non-existent at present, and what appears existent is as non-existent as water in a mirage. 

II The two ladies became as quiet as inert nature herself, and as still as the sky before the stars rolled 
about in its ample sphere. 

12 Then they began to move with their own bodies, the goddess of wisdom in her form of intelligence 
and the queen in her intellectual and meditative mood. 13 With their new bodies they rose as high as 
the width of a hand above the ground, then taking the forms of empty consciousness, they began to rise 
in the sky. l 4 Then the two ladies, their playful open eyes and by their nature of intellectual 
knowledge, ascended to the higher region of the sky. 

15 They flew higher and higher by force of their intellect and arrived at a region stretching millions of 
miles in length. 16 The pair in their ethereal forms looked around according to their nature in search of 
some visible objects, but finding no other figure except their own, they became much more attached to 
each other by their mutual affection. 

Chapter 24 — Description of the Astral Journey 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

Thus ascending higher and higher, and by degrees reaching the highest station, they continued viewing 
the heavens with their hands clasped together. 

2 They saw a vast expanse like a wide extended universal ocean, deep and translucent within, but soft 
with ethereal mildness. A cooling breeze infused heavenly delight. 3 They dived into the vast ocean of 
emptiness, all delightful and pleasant. It gave them a delight far greater in its purity than what is 
derived from the company of the virtuous. 4 They wandered about all sides of heaven under the beams 
of the full moon shining above them They lingered under the clear vault of clouds covering the 
mountain tops of Meru, as if under the dome of a huge white washed building. 

5 They roved by the regions of spiritual masters (siddhas, adepts) and male nature spirits 
(gandharvas). They breathed the charming fragrance of mandara garlands and, passing the lunar 
sphere, they inhaled the sweet scent exhaled by the breeze from that nectar-like lunar orb. 

6 Tired and perspiring profusely, they bathed in the lakes of showering clouds filled with the blushing 
lotuses of lurid lightning flashing within them. 7 They freely strolled at random on all sides, and 
alighted on the tops of high mountains like fluttering bees, appearing like filaments of the lotus-like 
earth below. 8 They also roved under the vaults of some cloud fragments scattered by the winds, and 
raining like the cascade of the Ganges River, thinking them as shower bath-houses in the air. 9 Then 
failing in their strength, they paused in many places with slow and slackened steps. 

They saw emptiness full of great and wonderful works. 10 They saw what they had never seen before, 
the tremendous depth of the void that was not filled up by the myriads of worlds which kept revolving 
in it. n Over and over and higher and higher, they saw the celestial spheres filled with luminous orbs 
adorned with their ornamental stars wandering one above and around the other. 12 Huge mountainous 
bodies like Mount Meru moved about in empty space and emitted a reddish glare on all sides, like a 
flame of fire from within their bowels. 1 3 There were beautiful tablelands, like those of the 
Himalayas, with their pearly peaks of snow. There were mountains of gold spreading a golden color 
over the land. 14 In one place they saw mountains of emerald tinting the landscape with a lush green 
like a field of fresh grass. In other places they saw some dark cloud dimming the sight of the spectator 
and hiding the spectacle in dark blackness. 15 They saw also tracts of blue sapphire with vines of 
parijata flowers blooming like banners in the blue skies. 

16 They saw the minds of spiritual masters (siddhas) in flight faster than the swift winds. They heard 
the vocal music of the songs of heavenly nymphs in their aerial abodes. 17 All the great bodies in the 
universe (the planetary system) were in continual motion. Spirits of the gods and demigods moved 
about unseen by one another. 18 Groups of spiritual beings, the kushmandas, rakshasas and pisachas, 
were seated in aerial circles at the borders. Winds and gales blew with full force in their ethereal 
course. 19 In some places they heard clouds roaring loudly, like the rumbling wheels of heavenly cars, 
and the noise of rapid stars resembled the blowing of pneumatic engines. 

20 Half burnt masters, having flown too close to the sun, were flying from their burning cars under the 
solar rays. Solar embers were flung afar by the breath of the nostrils of their horses. 21 In some places 

they saw the rulers of men and lines of female nature spirits (apsaras) hurrying up and down the air. 
In others, they saw goddesses wandering amidst the smoky and fiery clouds in the firmament. 22 Here 
they saw some sparks of light falling like the jewels of celestial nymphs in their hurried flight to their 
respective spheres. There they saw the light spirits of lesser masters dwindling into darkness. 

23 Flakes of mists were falling off from the clouds, as if by friction from the bodies of turbulent spirits 
rushing up and down the skies, and shrouded mountain sides like sheets of cloth. 24 Groups of cloud 
fragments were flying about in the air in the shapes of crows, owls and vultures. 

They saw some monsters also, such as dakinis heaving their heads in the forms of huge surges in the 
cloudy ocean of the sky. 25 There were bodies of yoginis too, their faces resembling those of dogs, 
ravens, asses and camels, who were traversing the wide expanse of the heavens to no purpose. 

26 There were masters and nature spirits sporting in pairs in the dark, smoky and ash colored clouds 
that spread the four quarters of the skies. 

27 They saw the path of the planets (the zodiac) resounding loudly with the heavenly music of the 
spheres. They also saw the path of the lunar mansions that constantly marked the course of the two 
fortnights. 28 They saw the sons of gods moving about in the air and they viewed with wonder the 
celestial Ganges (the milky way) studded with stars and rolling with the speed of winds. 29 They saw 
gods wielding their thunderbolts, discuses, tridents, swords and missiles. They heard Narada and 
Tumburu singing in their aerial abodes on high. 

30 They saw the region of the clouds, where there were huge bodies of clouds mute as paintings and 
pouring forth floods of rain as in the great deluge. 31 In one place they saw a dark cloud, as high as the 
mountain-king Himalaya, slowly moving in the air, and at others, clouds of a golden color like the 
setting sun. 32 In one place there were flimsy sheets of clouds, as are said to hover on the peaks of 
Rishya range; and at another a cloud like the calm blue bed of the sea. 

33 Tufts of grass were seen in some places, as if blown up by winds and floating in the stream of air. 
In other places, swarms of butterflies with glossy coats and wings were seen. 34 In some place, there 
was a cloud of dust raised by wind appearing like a lake on the top of a mountain. 

35 The matris were seen in one place, dancing naked in giddy circles, and in another, great yoginis sat 
as if forever giddy with intoxication. 36 In one place there were circles of holy men sitting in their 
calm meditation, and in others, pious saints who had cast away their worldly cares. 37 There was a 
conclave of celestial singers composed of heavenly nymphs, kinnaras and gandharvas in one place, 
and some quiet towns and cities situated at others. 38 There were the cities of Brahma and Rudra full 
with their people, and the city of illusion (may a) with its increasing population. 

39 There were crystal lakes in some places and stagnant pools at others; and lakes with masters seated 
by them, and others hugged by the rising moon. 40 They saw the sun rising in one part and the darkness 
of night veiling the others; the evening casting its shadow on one, and the dusky mists of dusk 
obscuring the other. 41 There were hoary clouds of winter in some places, and those of rain in others; 
somewhere they appeared as tracts of land and at another as a sheet of water. 

42 Bodies of gods and demigods wandered from one side to the other; some from east to west, and 
others from north to south. 43 There were mountains heaving their heads thousands of miles high, and 

there were valleys and caves covered in eternal darkness. 4 4 In one place there was a vast 
inextinguishable fire, like that of the blazing sun, and in another, a thick frost covering the moonlight. 

45 Somewhere there was a great city flourishing with groves and trees, and at another big temples of 
gods leveled to the ground by the might of demons. 

46 In some place there was a streak of light from a falling meteor in the sky; in another the blaze of a 
comet with its thousand fiery tails in the air. 47 In one place there was a lucky planet, rising in view 
with its full orb; in another there spread the gloom of night, and full sunshine in another. 48 Here the 
clouds were roaring, and there they were dumb and mute. Here were the high blasts driving the clouds 
in air, and there the gentle breeze dropping clusters of flowers on the ground. 49 Sometimes the sky 
was clear and fair without a cloud in it, as transparent as the soul of a wise man delighted with the 
knowledge of truth. 

50 The empty region of the celestial gods was so full with the dewy beams of the silvery moon that it 
appeared like a shower of rain and raised the loud croaking of the frogs below. 51 Flocks of peacocks 
and goldfinches fluttering about in one place, and vehicles of the goddesses and celestial girls 
(vidyadharis) thronged in another. 

52 A number of peacocks of Kartikeya (Subramanyan) were seen dancing amidst the clouds, and a 
flight of greenish parrots was seen in the sky appearing as a green plain. 53 Dwarfish clouds were 
moving like the stout buffaloes of Yama, and others in the form of horses were grazing on the grassy 
meadows of clouds. 54 Cities of the gods and demons appeared with their towers on high. Distinct 
towns and hills were seen separated by distances as if detached from one another by driving winds. 

55 In some place, gigantic bhairavas were dancing with their mountainous bodies; and at another, 
great garudas were flying like winged mountains in the air. 56 Huge mountains were tossed about by 
the blowing of winds; and the castles of the nature spirits (gandharvas) were rising and falling with 
the celestial nymphs in them. 

57 There were some clouds rising on high, and some appearing like rolling mountains in the sky that 
were crushing forests below. In one place the sky appeared like a clear lake abounding in lotuses. 

58 Moonbeams shone brightly in one spot, and sweet cooling breezes blew softly in another. Hot sultry 
winds were blowing in some place, singeing the forest on mountainous clouds. 

59 There was a dead silence in one spot caused by perfect calmness of the breeze; while another spot 
presented a scene of a hundred peaks rising on a mountain-like cloud. 60 In one place raining clouds 
roared loudly in their fury; and in another a furious battle was waging in the clouds between the gods 
and demons. 

61 In some place geese were seen gabbling in the lotus lake of the sky, inviting the ganders by their 
loud cackling cries. 62 Forms of fishes, crocodiles and alligators were seen flying in the air as if they 
had been transformed into aerial beings by the holy waters of the Ganges of their birth. 63 Somewhere, 
as the sun went down the horizon, they saw the dark shadow of the earth eclipse the moon; then they 
saw the shadow of the moon eclipse the sun. 6 4 They saw a magical flower garden, exhaling its 
fragrance in the air and strewing the floor of heaven with a profusion of flowers, scattered by 
showers of morning dews. 

65 They saw all beings contained in the three worlds flying in the air, like a swarm of gnats in the 
hollow of a fig tree. Then the two excellent ladies stopped their astral journey, intent upon revisiting 
the earth. 

Chapter 25 — Description of Astral Travel over the Earth 

Vasishta speaking: — 

I Then these ladies in their forms of intelligence alighted from the sky and, passing over the 
mountainous regions, saw the houses of men on the surface of the earth. 2 They saw the world 
appearing like a lotus in the heart of Nara (the primeval Man or eternal Spirit pervading the 
universe). Its eight sides form the flower petals, the hills its pistils, and the center contains its sweet 
flavor. 3 The rivers are the tubes of its filaments, covered with drops of snow resembling their pollen. 
Days and nights roll over it like swarms of black-bees and butterflies, and all its living beings appear 
like gnats fluttering about. 4 Its long stalks, white as bright daylight, are composed of fibers serving 
for food, and of tubes conducting the drink to living beings. 5 It is wet with moisture, sucked by the 
sun, resembling a swan swimming about in the air. In the darkness of night and absence of the sun, it 
folds itself in sleep. 

6 The earth, like a lotus, is situated on the surface of the waters of the ocean. At times the motion of 
the ocean makes the earth shake causing earthquakes. The earth rests upon the serpent Sesha as its 
support, and is girt about by demons as its thorns and prickles. 7 Mount Mem and other mountains are 
its large seeds. There are great hives of human population where the fair daughters of the giant race 
embraced with the sons of gods and created the race of men. 

8 It has the extensive continent of Jambudvipa (Asia) situated in one petal, it veins forming its 
divisions and the tubular filaments its rivers. 9 The seven elevated mountains, forming the boundary 
lines of this continent, are its seeds, and in its middle, the great Mount Sumeru reaches the sky. 10 Its 
lakes are like dewdrops on a lotus leaf, and its forests are like the flower's pollen. The people 
inhabiting the land all around are like a swarm of bees. 

II Its extent is a thousand leagues (yojanas) square, and it is surrounded on all sides by the dark sea 
like a belt of black bees. l 2 It contains nine divisions (varshas) ruled by nine brother kings, 
resembling the regents of its eight petal sides, with the Bharata varsha (India) in the midst. 1 3 It 
stretches a million miles with more land than water. Its habitable parts are as thick as frozen ice in 
winter. 14 The continent is surrounded by the briny ocean twice as large, like a bracelet encircles the 
wrist. 15 Beyond it lies the circular form of Saka continent, twice the size of Jambudvipa and also 
encircled by a sea. 16 This is called the Milky Ocean because of the sweetness of its water, and it is 
double the size of the former salt sea. 

17 Beyond that and double its size is Kusadwipa continent, full of population. It is also circular and 
surrounded by another sea, 18 the belt of the sea of curds, delectable to the gods and double the size of 
the continent it encircles. 19 After that lies the circle of Krauncha continent, also twice the size of the 
former one and surrounded by a sea like a canal surrounds a city. 20 This sea is called the sea of butter 
and is twice as large as the continent it surrounds. Beyond it lies Salmali continent surrounded by the 
foul sea of wine. 21 The fair belt of this sea resembles a wreath of white flowers, like the girdle of the 
Sesha serpent forming the necklace hanging on the breast of Vishnu. 22 Thereafter stretches Plaxa 
continent, double the size of the former and surrounded by the belt of the sea of sugar that appears like 
the snowy plains of Himalaya. 23 After that lies the belt of Pushkara continent, twice as large as the 

preceding one and encircled by a sea of sweet water double its circumference. 

24 There, at the distance often degrees, they saw the belt of the south polar circle with its hideous 
cave below, the descent to the infernal regions. 25 The way to the infernal cave is full of danger and 
fear and ten times in length from the circle of the continents. 26 This cave is surrounded on all sides by 
a dreadful emptiness, and below it is half covered by a thick gloom, as if a blue lotus were attached 
to it. 27 There stood Lokaloka Sumeru or South Polar mountain, which is bright with sunshine on one 
side and covered by darkness on the other, studded with various gems on its peaks, and decked with 
flowers growing upon it. 28 It reflected the glory of the three worlds situated on its peak, like a cap of 

29 At a great distance from it is a great forest that is not trodden by the feet of any living being. Then 
proceeding upward, they saw the great northern ocean encompassing the pole on all sides. 30 Further 
on they saw the flaming light of the aurora borealis which threatened to melt the snowy mountain to 
water. 3 1 Proceeding onward they met with the fierce north winds, blowing with all their fury and 
force. 32 They threatened to uproot the mountains as if they were dust or grass. They traversed the 
empty vacuum with their noiseless motion. 33 Far away they saw the empty space of vacuum stretching 
wide all about them 3 4 It spreads unlimited and encompasses the worlds like a golden bracelet 
encircles the wrist. 

35 Thus Leela, having seen the seas and mountains, the rulers of the worlds, the city of the gods, the 
sky above and the earth below in the unlimited vault of the universe, suddenly returned to her own 
land and found herself in her room again. 

Chapter 26 — Return to the Holy Brahmin's House; Description of Gloom; Vasishta Explains 

Astral Appearance 

1 Vasishta said: — 

After the excellent ladies had returned from their visit of physical sphere, they entered the house 
where the holy brahmin used to live. 

2 There the holy ladies, unseen by anyone, saw the tomb of the brahmin. 3 The maid servants were 
dejected with sorrow, and the faces of the women were soiled with tears, faded like lotuses with their 
withered leaves. 4 All joy had fled from the house, leaving it like the dry bed of the dead sea after its 
waters were sucked. It was like a garden parched in summer, or a tree struck by lightening. 5 It was as 
joyless as a dried lotus torn by a blast or withering under frost; and as faint as the light of a lamp 
without its wick or oil; and as dim as the eyeball without its light. 6 The house without its master was 
as sad as the face of a dying person, or like a forest with its falling and withered leaves, or like dry 
and dusty ground for lack of rain. 

7-8 Then Leela, with her gracefulness of divine knowledge, the elegance of her perfections, and her 
devotion for truth, thought within herself that the residents of the house might see her and the goddess 
in their ordinary forms as human beings. 9 Then the people of the house saw the two ladies as Lakshmi 
and Gauri, brightening the house with the light of their being. 

1 ° Wreaths of unfading flowers of various kinds adorned the two women from head to foot. They 
seemed like the personifications of spring season, perfuming the house with the fragrance of a flower 
garden. n They appeared to rise like a pair of moons with their cooling and pleasant beams infusing a 
freshness to the family, like moonlight does to medicinal plants in forests and villages. 12 The soft 
glances of their eyes under the long, loose and pendant curls of hair were like a shower of white 
malati flowers from the dark cloudy spots of their black lined eyes. 13 Their bodies were as bright as 
melted gold and as vibrant as a flowing stream. Their brilliance cast a golden color on the spot where 
they stood, as it did over the forest all around. 14 The natural beauty of Lakshmi 's body and the 
trembling glare of Leela's body spread as it were, a sea of radiance about them in which their bodies 
seemed to move like undulating waves. 15 Their relaxed arms resembling loose vines, their palms like 
red leaflets shook like the fresh kalpa vines in the forest. 16 They touched the ground with their feet 
that resembled the fresh and tender petals of a flower, or like lotuses growing upon the ground. 

1 7 Their appearance seemed to sprinkle ambrosial dews all around and made the dry withered and 
brown branches of tamara trees sprout new tender leaflets. 

1 8 On seeing them, the whole family with Jyeshtha Sarma, the eldest son of the deceased brahmin, 
cried aloud and said, "Hail to the woodland goddesses," and threw handflils of flowers on their feet. 

19 The flower offerings that fell on their feet resembled showers of dewdrops falling on lotus leaves 
in a lake of lotuses. 20 Jyeshtha Sarma said, "Hail, you goddesses who have come here to dispel our 
sorrow. It is inborn in the nature of good people to deliver others from their distress." 

21 The goddesses addressed him gently, "Tell us the cause of your sorrow which has made you all so 

22 Then, one by one, Jyeshtha Sarma and others described their sorrows owing to the death of the 

brahmin couple. 23 They said, "Know, O goddess pair, there lived here a brahmin and his wife who 
had been the support of guests and a model for brahmins. 24 They were our parents who recently died. 
They have abandoned us, leaving all their friends and domestic animals here. They have departed to 
heaven and left us quite helpless in this world." 

25 "The birds sitting on the top of the house have been continually pouring their pious and mournful 
sounds over the bodies of the deceased. 26 Mountains on all sides have been lamenting their loss with 
the hoarse noise of winds howling in their caverns, shedding showers of tears in the courses of the 
streams issuing from their sides. 27 Clouds have poured their tears in floods of rainwater, then fled 
from the skies. The heavenly quarters have been sending their sighs in sultry winds all around." 

28 "The poor village people are wailing in piteous notes, their bodies disheveled from rolling upon 
the ground. They are trying to yield up their lives with continued fasting. 29 The trees are shedding 
their tears every day in drops of melting snow exuding from the cells of their leaves and flowers, 
resembling the sockets of their eyes. 30 The streets are deserted for lack of passers-by and have 
become dusty without being watered. They have become as empty as the hearts of men forsaken by 
their joys of life. 3 1 Among the sad notes of cuckoos and the humming of bees, fading plants are 
wailing and withering from the sultry sighs of their inner grief. 32 Snows are melting from the heat of 
their grief, their waters falling in cataracts that break into to a hundred channels as they fall upon 
stony basins." 

3 3 "Our prosperity has fled from us, and we sit here in dumb despair of hope. Our houses have 
become dark and gloomy as a desert. 34 Here the humble bees are humming in grief upon the scattered 
flowers in our garden that now sends forth a putrid smell instead of their former fragrance. 3 5 The 
vines that twined so gaily round the spring trees are dwindling and dying away with their closing and 
fading flowers. 36 The rivulets, with their loose and low rippling murmur and the light wavelike 
motion of their liquid bodies on the ground, are running hurriedly in their sorrow to cast themselves 
into the sea. 37 Despite the disturbance of the gnats flying constantly upon them, ponds are as still in 
their sorrow as men sitting in meditation. 38 Truly this day, the presence of our parents is adorning that 
part of the heaven where heavenly singers, the kinnaras, gandharvas and vidyadharas, welcome them 
with their music." 

3 9 "Therefore, O Devis! reduce our excessive grief, because the visit of the great never goes for 

40 Hearing these words, Leela gently touched the head of her son with her hand, as the lotus bed leans 
to touch its offshoot by the stalk. 4 l At her touch the boy was relieved of all his sorrow and 
misfortune, just like the summer heat of the mountain is reduced by the showers of rainy season. 42 All 
others in the house were as highly gratified at the sight of the goddesses as when a pauper is relieved 
of his poverty, or the sick are healed by a draught of nectar. 

43 Rama said, "Remove my doubt, sage. Why didn't Leela appear in her own form of Arundhati before 
her eldest son, Jyeshta Sarma?" 

44 Vasishta answered: — 

You forget, O Rama, and think that Leela had a material body or could assume one at pleasure. She 

was in an astral form, her form of pure intellect, and it was with her spiritual hand that she touched 
the inner spirit of the boy and not his material body. 

45 Belief in materialism leads one to think that his unreal earthly frame is real, just like a boy's belief 
in ghosts makes him take a shadow for a spirit. 46 But this belief in one's materiality is soon over 
upon conviction of one's spirituality, just like the traces of our visions in a dream are removed on the 
knowledge of their unreality upon waking. 47 Belief that matter is an empty nothing leads to the 
knowledge of the spirit. A glass door appears as open space to someone of an irritable temperament. 
In the same way matter appears as nothing to the wise. 

4 8 A dream presents the sights of cities, lands, air and water where there are no such things in 
actuality. A dream causes the movements of our limbs and bodies for no purpose. 49 As air appears as 
earth in dreaming, so the nonexistent world appears to exist in waking. It is thus that men see and talk 
of things unseen and unknown in their fits of delirium 50 Children see ghosts in the air and a dying 
man sees a forest in it. Others see elephants in clouds, and some see pearls in sunbeams. 5 1 Those 
who are panic-struck and deranged in their minds, the half-waking and passengers in vessels, see 
many appearances like such ghosts and forests and betray what they see (in dreams) by the movements 
of their bodies. 

52 In this manner, everyone is of the form of whatever he thinks himself to be. It is only habit that 
makes him to believe himself as such. He is not so in reality. 53 But Leela, who had known the truth of 
the nonexistence of the world, was conscious of its nothingness and viewed all things as false 
conceptions of the mind. 54 Thus he who sees only Brahma filling the sphere of his consciousness has 
no room for a son or friend or wife. 55 He who views the whole as filled with the spirit of Brahma, 
with nothing produced in it, has no room for affection or hatred for anybody in it. 

5 6 The hand that Leela laid on the head of Jyeshtha Sarma, her eldest son, was not lain from her 
maternal affection for him, but for his edification in intellectual knowledge. 57 Consciousness being 
awakened, there is all joy attendant upon it. It is more subtle than ether and far purer than vacuum, and 
leads the intellectual being above the region of air. All other things are like images in a dream. 

Chapter 27 — Leela Remembers Her Past Lives 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 Then the two ladies disappeared from that place, leaving the brahmin family in their house in the 
mountainous village. 2 The family exclaimed "We are highly favored by the woodland goddesses." 
Then forgetting their grief, they returned to their domestic employments. 

3 Then the ethereal goddess spoke to the aerial Leela, who stood fixed in the air over the brahmin's 
house in a state of mute astonishment. 4 They conversed with each other as familiarly as persons 
having the same thoughts and desires agree with each another in their views and acts, and as the 
dreamers of the same dream hold their mutual correspondence, like Usha and Anniruddha. 5 Their 
conversation in their immaterial forms was of the same intellectual kind as we are conscious of in our 
dreams and imaginations. 

6 Saraswati said, "Now you have fully known the knowable and you have become acquainted with 
whatever is visible and invisible. Such is the essence of Brahma. Say now, what more do you want to 

7 Leela said, "Tell me the reason why I was seen by my son, but wasn't seen where the spirit of my 
departed lord is reigning over his realm." 

8 Saraswati replied, "Because then you were not perfect by your practice of meditation to have your 
wish fulfilled, nor had you lost your sense of duality which prevents perfection. 9 He who has not 
known unity is not entitled to the acts and benefits of faith in the true God, as no one sitting in the sun 
can enjoy the coolness of shade." 

10 "You were not practiced to forget your identity as Leela. Nor had you learned that it is not your 
will, but the will of God that is always fulfilled. 1 1 Later you become pure desire and wished that 
your son might see you, whereby he was able to see you. 12 If you should return now to your husband 
and do the same, you will undoubtedly be successful in your desire." 

13 Leela said, "I see within the sphere of this dome (of my mind) that the holy brahmin has been my 
husband before. I also see that after he died, he became a ruler of the earth. 14 In my mind I see that 
spot of the earth, that city and his palace where I sat as his queen. 1 5 Within myself I see my lord 
reigning in that place, and I can even see how he died afterwards. 16 1 see the glory of the ruler of so 
many countries on earth, and I also see the perfect frankness of his conduct throughout his life." 

17 "In the inner sky of my mind I see the worlds as they were placed in a casket, just like oil is 
contained within a mustard seed. 18 1 see the bright orb of my husband ever wandering before me, and 
now I pray you to contrive some way to place me by his side." 

19 The goddess replied, "Tell me Leela, to which husband should you go? You have had and will have 
hundreds of them in your past and future lives, and now there are three of them confined in this earth. 

20 The nearest of the three is the brahmin here who is reduced to ashes. The next is the king lying in 
state and covered with flowers in the inner apartment." 

21 "The third is now a reigning king on this earth and has been buffeting in the waves of error in the 
vast ocean of the world. 2 2 His intellect is darkened and disordered by the splashing waves of 

worldliness. His intelligence is perverted to stupidity. He is converted to a tortoise in the ocean of the 
world. 23 The management of his very many disordered state affairs has stultified him into a clumsy 
lout, and he is now fast asleep amidst the turmoil of business. 24 The strong chain of his thoughts has 
bound him to think that he is a lord, mighty and accomplished, and that he is happy and can enjoy his 
estates forever." 

25 "Now say, O excellent lady, to what husband do you wish to be led like the fragrance of one forest 
carried by the breeze to another?" 

26 "Here you are in one place and they are in others in this vast universe. The states of their lives and 
manners differ widely from one another. 27 These orbs of light in the heaven, though they appear to be 
placed so near to us, are situated millions of leagues apart from one another and they carry the 
departed souls. 28 All these bodies are as empty as air, though they contain the great mountains Mem 
and Mandara in themselves." 

29 "All bodies are formed by a combination of atoms constantly proceeding from the Great Intellect, 
like particles of sunbeams over the universe. 30 The great and stupendous fabric of the world is no 
more than a quantity of paddy rice weighed in a balance. 3 1 As the spangled heavens appear like a 
forest full of brilliant gems, so the world appears to the contemplative mind as full of the glory of 
God and not composed of earth or other material bodies. 32 In the intelligent soul, it is Consciousness 
alone that shines in the form of world and not any material body that was never brought into being. 
33 Like waves in a lake rise and set and rise again, so the rising and falling days and nights present 
these various scenes to our knowledge." 

34 Leela said, "So it is, O mother of mankind. I come to remember now that my present birth is of a 
royal kind, neither too pure nor gross in nature. 35 1, having descended from Brahma, have undergone a 
hundred and eight births and, after passing various states, I find myself still in existence." 

36 "I recollect, O goddess, that I was born before in another world, that I was the bride of a demigod 
(vidyadhara) and used to wander about as freely as a bee over flowers. 37 Being debased by my lack 
of moral restraint, I was born in this mortal world and became the mate of the king of the eagle- 
feathered tribe. 38 Having lived in the woods, then I was turned to a woodman's mate, wearing a 
garment of leaves on my loins. 39 Growing fond of my life, I played wantonly about the forest and was 
changed into a guluncha plant, delighting the woods with my leafy palms and flowering eyes. 40 This 
small tree in a holy hermitage was held sacred by a group of saintly sages." 

"Then, after the woods were burnt down by a wildfire, I was regenerated into the form of an hermit's 
child. 41 Here I was taught the formulas for removing the curse of womanhood, and I became a male in 
the person of the handsome prince of the land of Surashtra (Surat) where I reigned for a hundred 
years. 42 "Then, on account of my misconduct in the government, I was denounced to become a weasel 
covered with leprosy, living in the lowlands of Tali." 

4 3 "I remember, O goddess, how I became a bullock in Surat and how for full eight years I was 
goaded by thoughtless cowherd children in their merry sport. 44 I have in mind that when I was 
transformed into a bird, with what difficulty I broke the net that was laid by bird-catchers for my 
destruction. It was in the same manner as we release ourselves from the snares of sinful desires. 45 1 

remember with pleasure when as a bee I landed lightly on the leaflets of blossoms, sipped the honey 
of the blooming buds, dined on the pistils, and slept in the cups of lotus flowers. 46 In the form of an 
antelope I wandered about in pleasant woodlands and lawns with my exalted and branching horns and 
beautiful eyes, until I was killed by a hunter's arrow. 47 1 have been in the form of a fish, and I was 
lifted up by the waves of the sea above the surface of the water. I saw how a tortoise was killed by 
the blow of a club on the neck." 

48 "I was a tribal (chandala, outcaste) hunter once, wandering by the side of the Charmanvati (Chenab 
River). When tired of roaming, I used to quench my thirst with coconut water. 49 I also became a 
stork, delighting in lakes with my mate, filling the air with our sweet cries. 50 In another birth, I 
rambled about in groves of palm and tamara trees and fixed my eyes with amorous looks and glances 
upon my lover." 

51 "Next I was a fairy apsara with a form as bright as melted gold and features as beautiful as those of 
the lotus and lily in which the celestials used to take delight like bees and butterflies. 52 1 remember 
being on earth, having decked myself in gold, pearls, rubies and other gems, and playing with my 
youthful consorts in pleasure gardens and groves, and on hills and mountains." 

53 "I also remember living long as a tortoise on the borders of a river, and to have been carried away 
by the waves, sometimes under a tree of vines over-hung with clusters of beautiful flowers, 
sometimes washed by waves into some wild cave. 54 1 see how I acted the part of a goose covered by 
feathers, swimming on the high heaving waves on the surface of a lake. 55 Then, seeing a poor gnat 
hanging on the moving leaf of a cotton tree (salmali) branch, I became its associate and as 
contemptible a thing as itself. 5 6 1 became an aquatic crane also, skimming playfully over waters 
gushing from hills, slightly kissing the crests of waves rising over the rapid torrent." 

5 7 "I remember also how I slighted the loves of amorous youths and spurned the lesser demigod 
iyidyadhard) children on the Gandha Madana and Mandara hills. 58 1 remember likewise the pangs of 
a lovelorn lass as I lay pining in my bed strewn with the fragrance of camphor, and how I was 
decaying like the disc of the waning moon." 

59 "Thus I passed through many births in the wombs of higher and lower animals and found them all to 
be full of pain. My soul has run over the waves of the irresistible current of life, like a fleet antelope 
pacing its speed with the swiftness of the wind." 

Chapter 28 — Leela's Vision in Meditation; Description of the Mountain Hamlet 

1 Rama said, "Tell me sage, how did the goddesses break out of the strongholds of their bodies and 
the prison-house of this world and pass through infinite space and survey the scenes beyond its 

2 Vasishta replied: — 

Where is the world and where is its support or solidity? They were all situated in the region within 
the minds of the goddesses. 3 In their minds they saw the hilly tract where the brahmin Vasishta lived 
and had his desire for royally. 4 They saw his deserted house and in their minds they saw the surface 
of the earth stretching to the seas. 

5 In that imaginary spot of earth they saw the city of the king and the royal palace which he had 
enjoyed with Arundhati, his wife. 6 They saw how she was born under the name of Leela and how she 
worshipped the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati, by whom she was miraculously conveyed to the 
delightful region of the sky. 7 It was in the house situated in that hilly village that she saw the world 
placed within the space of her mind. 

8 Having come out of her vision of the world, she found herself sitting in her house, just like one finds 
himself lying in his own bed after rambling from one dream to another. 9 All that she saw was mere 
vision and void. There was no world, no earth, no house, and no distance. 10 It was the mind that 
showed them these images, just like the mind presents the objects of our desire to our view. 
Otherwise, there is neither world nor earth in actuality. 

11 The sphere of consciousness is infinite and without any covering. If agitated by the powers of one's 
intellect, it presents all the objects of nature to his view, like the sky when agitated by heat produces 
the winds. 12 The sphere of consciousness is uncreated. It is ever calm everywhere. Deluded minds 
suppose the world to exist. 13 He who understands rightly sees the world is as unsubstantial as air. 
But whoever is misled by wrong judgment takes it to be like a solid mountain. 

14 As a house and city are manifested to us in our dream, so this unreal world is presented as a reality 
to our understanding. 15 It is like the misconception of water in the mirage and the mistake of gold in a 
bracelet. All this unreality appears as a reality to the mistaken mind. 

16 Discoursing in this manner between themselves, the two charming ladies, walked out of the house 
with their graceful steps. 

1 7 Being unseen by the village people, they viewed the mountain standing before them, kissing the 
vault of heaven and touching the orb of the sun with its lofty peaks. 18 It was decorated with flowers 
of various colors and covered with a variety of trees of various colors. There were waterfalls 
gushing with their tremendous roaring on one side, and groves resounding with the warbling of birds 
in another. 19 The clouds were variegated by many colored clusters of flowers sweeping over them, 
and cranes and storks sat screeching on the cloud-capped tops of guluncha trees. 20 There were robust 
reeds lining the banks of rivers with their wide stretching stems and roots. Strong winds tossed the 
tender vines growing out of the rocky caves. 

21 Clouds from the vault of heaven hung over the tops of trees covered with flowers and shed their 

pearly drops of rainwater profusely upon them, forming streams below. 22 The banks of the streamlets 
were continually lapped by waves raised by winds playing upon the shaking trees. Branches spread a 
cooling shade all around. 

23 Standing on that spot, the ladies saw the hilly hamlet in the grass, like a fragment of heaven had 
fallen on the ground. 24 There the rippling streams softly glided by, and here the brimming brooks 
wobbled in the ground. The birds of the air chirped on the sprays, and aquatic fowls flew about the 
holes of the seashore. 2 5 There they saw herds of cattle slowly moving and grazing in the plains, 
filling the echoing woods with their loud lowing. They saw an open space broken with shady groves 
and trees and green meadows all about. 2 6 The cliffs were white with snow, impenetrable by 
sunbeams. Hill tops were covered with bushy brambles, forming like braids of hair upon their craggy 

27 Cascades falling in torrents in the cavities of rocks, scattering their pearly particles afar like the 
churning of the Milky Ocean by Mandara Mountain. 28 The trees in the glens, loaded as they were with 
their fruit and flowers, appeared like waiters upon the goddesses, standing to welcome their approach 
with their rich presents. 29 Shaken by gusts of roaring winds, the forest trees were shedding showers 
of their honey sweetened flowers as offerings to the woodland gods and people. 

30 The birds that approached fearlessly to drink the water dropping from the hill now fled for fear 
because the water seemed like sleet, or the shells and shots of archers. 31 Birds, parched by thirst and 
wishing to drink the water dashed by the waves of the rivulet, hovered upon it like stars in the sky. 

32 There were rows of crows sitting on the tops of tall palm trees from whose sight children were 
hiding the remains of their sweetmeat. 

33 They saw country lads with garlands of flowers on their heads and garments roaming in the cooling 
shades of the date, jam and neem trees. 34 They saw a lean and hungry beggar woman passing by 
slowly, clad in cloth of flax with garlands of blossoms over her ears. 35 They saw lazy rustics lying in 
their lonely retreats, talking away from the noisy brooks where they could hardly hear one another. 

36 They saw naked beggar children crowding in a compound, curd smeared on their faces and hands, 
cow dung on their bodies, and holding flowery branches of plants in their hands. 

37 On the green river banks, waves shook bushes as if they were a swing, leaving their marks on the 
sandy shore as the waters receded to their bed. 38 There was a house full of flies attracted by sweet 
milk and curds, but children were crying for lack of food. 39 Herdswomen were fretting at seeing their 
bracelets daubed by the cow dung they were spreading to dry. Men were smiling at seeing the 
eagerness of women tying the loosened knots of their hair. 40 Crows from the hilltops were alighting 
to pick up the offerings of the holy sages, and the paths around their houses were strewn with sacred 
kuru and kurunta leaves. 

41 Every morning flowering plants growing in the caves of the hills and around the house covered the 
ground heel-deep with heaps of flowers. 42 There were whisk-tailed cattle and antelope grazing in 
one part of the forest, and tender young deer sleeping on beds of grass under gunja groves. 43 There 
were young calves lying on their sides shaking their ears to drive away the flies that fluttered around 
their faces, milk dripping from the sides of their mouths. 

44 Rooms stored honey collected by driving bees from their hives. Gardens were full of flowering 
asokas. Rooms were painted with red dye. 45 Winds moistened by rain showers had brought the 
garden of trees to bloom, and yellow kadamba buds hung like a canopy over the beds of green grass 
below. 46 The ketaka tree grove was blooming white from having its weeds removed, and the water- 
course glided along with its soft murmuring tune. 47 Winds whistled in the windows of caves and 
clouds rested on mountain tops. Ponds were brimful of water covered with lotuses like so many 

4 8 A grove of green trees cast its cooling and undivided shade upon the ground where dewdrops 
trembled on blades of grass and glistened like twinkling stars in the blue sky. 49 Trees constantly 
dropped their ripened fruit, dried flowers and leaves of various sorts, like showers of snow on 
whitened ground. 50 Some clouds were seen to hang continually over the household compound, like 
aristocratic girls who never forsake their parents' home. Other clouds hovered over the roof of the 
house flashing lightening to supply the light. 

51 The altar here reverberated to the loud roaring of winds confined in the caves of mountains. The 
temple there was graced by twittering swallows and parrots that perched upon it from their numerous 
flights. 52 Soft breezes moved slowly as they passed along the lawn loaded with fragrance exhaled by 
sleepy flowers and gently shaking the leaves of trees. 

53 There the ladies listened to prattling and playful parrots and partridges, and here they heard the 
melodious notes of the kokila nightingale calling back to the jarring crows on the branches. 54 Palm 
and tamara trees were loaded with fruit, and the forest trees were entwined with vines that waved 
their leafy palms around them. 55 There were tender ivy vines clasping the branches on one side, and 
the fragrance of efflorescent kandala and silindhra plants exhaled on the other. Tapering palm and 
tamara trees rose as high as spires, and a cooling breeze was blowing amidst the flower plants in the 

56 There were cattle hastening to drink water in troughs, and garden trees hung with loads of green 
unripe fruit and beautiful flowers. Running streams were hidden under rows of trees by their banks. 
Stalks of plants were studded with flowers. 57 Gardens were perfumed with the nectar fragrance of 
kunda flowers, and lakes were redolent with the odor of lotuses hiding humble bees giddy with liquor 
in their honey cells. The air was reddened with rose-colored pollen flying from crimson lotuses, as if 
mocking the redness of Indra's palace in the sky. 

58 The scene was enchanted with the gurgling noise of small rivers running precipitately down from 
the hills, kundu flowers as white as clouds hanging over them, the beauty of the flower gardens around 
the house, and the musical warbling of songbirds singing joyfully in the air. 59 Boys were sporting on 
beds of flowers, and playful maidens were decked with flowery wreaths hanging down to their feet. 
Everywhere the ground was adorned with sprouting and prickly shrubs and blades of grass. There 
was a beauty displayed in the clasping of vines about the clumps of reeds. 60 New shooting buds and 
blossoms covered the trees and fragments of clouds shrouded the houses below. The ground was 
decorated by wreaths of icicles, and the flashes of lightning in the clouds over the houses terrified the 
women within. 

61 There was a sweet fragrance of blue lotuses, and the hoarse lowing of the cattle hurrying to their 

green grazing ground. Confident deer and does were lying tamely in the yard, and peacocks danced 
merrily before waterfalls as if they were showers of rainwater. 62 Fragrant breezes were blowing 
giddily with the flavors of the fragrances they bore. Medicinal plants were lending their lights like 
lamps at night. Bird nests resounded with ceaseless warbling, and the noise of waterfalls deafened the 
ears of men on the bank. 

63 Pearly dewdrops continually falling on the ground from the leaves of trees and blades of grass, the 
gleaming beauty of the ever blooming blossoms above, and the other everlasting charms of mountain 
hamlets baffle the description of poets. 

Chapter 29 — Description of Leela's Life as Arandhati; Description of Astral Travel in Space 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 Then the two goddesses sat on a cooling village seat, much like the two states of joy and liberation 
meet in the tranquil spirit of the man knowing the Divine Spirit. 2 By this time Leela had become 
personified to the form of pure consciousness through her knowledge of meditation. She had become a 
seer of the three times presenting themselves before her. 3 She remembered the whole course of her 
past life and derived pleasure relating the events of her former life and death. 

4 Leela said, "By your favor, O goddess, and by sight of this place, I recollect all that I did and 
thought of in my past life. 5 Here I grew up to old age, and here I withered and become lean and thin 
as a skeleton." 

"I was a brahmani here and had my body scratched by dried sacrificial grass (kusa). 6 I was the legal 
wife of my lord and producer of his race. I was employed milking cattle and churning curd. I had been 
mother of many sons and a kind hostess to my guests. 7 I was devoted to the service of the gods, 
brahmins and good people, and rubbed my body with cow milk and ghee." 

"I cleaned the frying pans and boiling kettles of the house. 8 1 boiled food daily with a single bracelet 
of glass and one of conch-shell on my wrists. I served my father, mother, brother, daughters and sons- 
in-law with their daily meals. 9 Working all day and night, my body was emaciated like that of a 
domestic servant. 'Haste and hasten' were the words I used to repeat to myself." 

10 "Being so busy, I was silly and ignorant. Although I was the wife of a brahmin, I never wondered, 
not even in a dream, about what I was and what was this world. n Fully engaged in the collection of 
fuel, cow-dung, and sacrificial wood and vegetables, I became emaciated in my body, which was 
wrapped in a worn out blanket." 

12 "I used to pick out worms from the ears of the milk cow, and was prompt to water the garden of 
greens with watering pots in hand. 13 Every day I used to go to the lake and get fresh green grass to 
feed my tender calves. I used to wash and clean the house every morning, and paint the doorway with 
the white tints of pasted and powdered rice (gundi) . l4 l had to correct my servants with gentle 
rebukes and tell them to keep within their bounds like the waves in the rivers." 

15 "With my infirm body and ears shaking like dried tree leaves, and supporting myself on a stick, I 
lived here under the dread of old age." 

16 As she was speaking in this manner and walking with Saraswati about the village in the valley of 
the mountain, she was astonished to see her former seats of pleasure, and she showed them to the 
goddess. 17 "This was my flowery tree garden, decorated by these torn patala plants, and this was my 
garden alcove of flowering asokas. 18 This is the bank of the pond where the calves were loosely tied 
to the trees. This is my pet calf Karnika, which in my absence has refrained from eating the leaves. 

19 This is my watering woman, now so weak and dirty in her appearance, her eyes daubed in tears 
from weeping these eight days in my absence." 

20 "This, O goddess, is the place where I used to eat and sit, and where I slept and walked. These are 
the places where I gave and received the things from my attendants. 21 This is my eldest son, Jyeshtha 

Sarma, weeping in the house. That is my milk cow, now grazing on the grassy plain in the forest." 

22 "I see this portico and these windows, once as dear to me as my own self, smeared with the dry 
powder of the spring Holi festival. 23 1 see these pulpy gourds, planted with my own hands and dear to 
me as myself, now spreading themselves over the oven area. 24 1 see my relatives wearing rudraksha 
beads, who before had been the bonds of my life, carrying fuel for fire, eyes tearing from the smoke. 
2 5 1 see that stony shore pelting its pebbles against force of the waves that baffle the beach, now 
covered by bushes. 26 The green meadows were Ml of leafy plants, dew drops on their tips. The 
plains were whitened from hailstones falling on them in showers. 27 The midday was covered by 
sunbeams, like a white mist of frost. The tree groves resounded with humming of bees fluttering about 
clustering flowers." 

28 "The blooming palasa, glowing like reddish coral, covered trees and land with heaps of crimson 
flowers. 29 Fruit was flowing in the village stream, carried from shore to shore, and rustic lads loudly 
jumbled together, eager to lay hold on them. 30 The cool shady beach of the stream was strewn with 
pebbles, washed and carried away by the current and covered by leaves falling from the trees." 

31 "There I see the altar of my house, so beautifully decorated with flowering vines, clusters of fruits 
and flowers hanging over its windows. 32 Here lived my husband, whose life in its aerial form has 
fled to the sky and became lord of the earth reaching the surrounding seas. 33 1 remember how he had 
fostered the fond wish of obtaining royal dignity, and how ardently he looked forward to its 
attainment. 34 I see, O goddess, his royal dignity of eight days, which had seemed to be so long in 

35 "I see the soul of my husband in the same form as his kingly state residing in the empty space of this 
house, invisible to all like the air in the sky, and like the odors borne by the winds. 36 It is in this 
empty space that his soul is contained within the form of a thumb that contains in its bosom the whole 
extent of my lord's realm stretching thousands of leagues in its circumference. 3 7 1 also see the 
spacious kingdom of my lord in the space of my consciousness which, by the miraculous power of 
God called illusion (maya), makes room for thousands of mountains." 

38 "O Goddess, now I wish to see the earthly city of my lord again. Let us therefore turn our course 
that way, as no place is distant to the resolute." 

39 Vasishta said: — 

Having said so, Leela bowed down to Saraswati and entered the shrine. Then, like a bird, she flew 
into the air with the goddess. 40 It was a region devoid of darkness and as fair as a sea of moonlight. 
Then it became as blue as the body of Narayana and as bright as the back of a locust. 41 They passed 
above the regions of the clouds and winds, then beyond the spheres of the orbits of the sun and moon. 
42 They passed beyond the path of the north star and the limits of the circuits of the sadhya deities, 
spiritual masters, and other celestial beings. 43 From there they ascended to the higher heavens of 
Brahma and the Tushita divinities, then upward to the sphere of Golaka (the zodiac), and from there to 
the world of Shiva and to the sphere of the departed souls of the dead. 

44 Passing beyond the spheres of embodied living beings and of the bodiless souls of the dead, they 

proceeded far and farther to the unknown regions of empty space. 45 Having passed the ethereal 
sphere, they saw nothing there except the sun, moon and the stars shining below them. 46 There was 
only a deep darkness to be seen, filling the whole void of space and appearing like the basin of the 
waters of universal deluge, and as compact as the impenetrable cavity of a rock. 

47 Leela said, "Tell me, O goddess! What happened to the light of the sun and other stars? Where did 
this darkness, dense like a fist, come from?" 

48 The goddess replied, "You have arrived at a place so remote from the spheres of heaven that the 
light of the stars can never reach it. 49 Just like one at the bottom of a deep dark pit is unable to see the 
light of a firefly flitting over it, so sunlight is invisible to one behind the great belt of heaven." 

50 Leela said, "Such a great distance we have come! The great luminary of the sun appears as small as 
an atom below. 51 Tell me mother, what sort of a place lies beyond this region, and how can we get 
there after traversing this gloomy expanse?" 

52 Saraswati said, "Behind this is the great pole of the universe that is scattered with innumerable 
nebular stars like particles of dust." 

53 Vasishta said: — 

As they were talking in this manner, they glided imperceptibly to that pole, like a bee saunters over a 
solitary hut on the height of a mountain. 54 They were at no pains to come down from that precipice, as 
there is no pain to effect what must certainly come to pass, even though it appears difficult at first. 

55 They saw the system of the universe laid naked to their sight, just as a bold navigator beholds a 
world exposed to his view beyond the wide expanse of waters. 56 They saw the watery expanse to be 
ten times greater than the earth and enveloping like the crust of a walnut. 57 Then there is a latent heat 
that is ten times as great as the water, and the surrounding air is as much greater than the water, and 
then the all encompassing space of which there is no end. 

58 There is no beginning, middle or end to that infinite space. It produces nothing, like a barren woman 
of her offspring. 59 It is only an extended expanse, infinite, calm and without beginning, middle or end, 
situated in the Supreme Spirit. 60 Its immensity is as immeasurable as a stone flung with full force 
from its top. It is impossible for a garuda bird, flying with all his night at full speed over the course 
of an entire kalpa age, to reach from one end to the other . 

Chapter 30 — Vasishta Describes the Universe, the Cosmic Egg (Brahmanda) 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 Within a moment they passed beyond the regions of the earth, air, fire, water and space and the 
tracks of the ten planetary spheres. 2 They reached boundless space from where the universe appears 
like an egg. 3 Under its vault they saw millions of luminous particles floating in the air, 4 like 
innumerable bubbles floating on the waters of the unlimited ocean of the sphere of Consciousness. 
5 Some particles were going downward, and others rising upward; some turning round, and others 
appeared to their understanding to remain fixed and immovable. 6 These different motions were only 
apparent as they saw them from different sides. 7 Here there were no ups or downs, no upside or 
below, and no going forward or backward. Here there are no directions as men know. 8 There is only 
one indefinite space in nature, as there is only one consciousness in all beings. Yet everything moves 
in its own way, just like wayward children take their own course. 

9 Rama said, "Tell me sage, why do we refer to up and down, forward and backward, if there is no 
such thing in space and nature?" 

10 Vasishta said: — 

There is only one space enveloping all things. The worlds seen in the infinite and indiscernible womb 
of emptiness are like worms moving on the surface of water. n All these bodies that move about in 
the world by their lack of freedom are thought to be up and down relative to our position on earth. 
12 So when there are ants on an earthen ball, all its sides are reckoned below that are under their feet, 
and those as above which are over their backs. 13 Such is this ball of earth in one of these worlds, 
covered by vegetables and animals moving on it, and by gods, demons and men walking upon it. 14 It 
is also covered by cities, towns and mountains and their inhabitants and productions, like a walnut by 
its shell. 

15 Like elephants appearing as pigmies in the Vindhyan Mountains, these worlds appear as particles in 
the vast expanse of space. 16 Everything anywhere is produced from and exists in space. It is always 
all in all things, which are contained like particles in it. 1 7 Such is the pure empty space of Divine 
Consciousness which, like an ocean of light, contains these innumerable worlds which are forever 
revolving in it like the countless waves of the sea. 

18 Some of these are hollow within, and others are as dark as the darkness in the end of a kalpa age. 
They are all moving about in the ocean of emptiness like the waves of the sea. 19 Some are forever 
whirling about with a jarring noise that is neither heard or known to anybody. It is like the motion of 
men addicted by their nature to earthly pursuits. 

20 Some worlds are growing in form, as if they were newly created. In their development, they are 
like sprouts from seeds newly sown in the ground. 21 Some are melting away like icicles in heat, or 
like the mountains that melt at the dissolution of the world from burning sun and heavenly fire. 
22 Others have been continually falling downward without reaching any ground, until at last they 
dwindle and melt into Divine Intellect. 23 Others are fixed in the air like miniscule animals in water 
that are moved to and fro by currents but without any sign of motion or sensation in them. 24 Again, 

nothing is stable in nature. Everything is as changing as people alter and add to the acts and customs 
enjoined in the Vedas and scriptures. 

25 There are other Brahmas and other patriarchs, and many Vishnus and many Indras, one after the 
other. We have different kings of men, and sometimes no ruler of them. 

26 Some in this multiform creation are like men or lords of others, and some are creeping and crooked 
living beings on earth. Some kinds are as plenty as the waters of the ocean, and others have become 
extinct. 27 Some are as hard as solid stones, and others are as soft as poor insects and worms. Some 
are of godly figures, such as the giants, while others are of puny human forms. 28 Some are quite blind 
and are suited to darkness. Others are suited to light. Some to both. 29 Some are born as gnats sucking 
the juice figs. Others are empty within and fly about and feed upon the air. 

30 The world is filled with creatures beyond the conception of even yogis. Even we cannot form even 
a guess of all the beings that fill infinite space. 31 This world is the sphere for these living beings, but 
the great emptiness that spreads beyond is so extensive that the gods Vishnu and others are unable to 
measure it even if they were to traverse it for the whole of their lives. 32 Every one of these ethereal 
globes is encircled by a belt resembling a golden bracelet, and each has an attractive power like the 
earth to attract other objects. 

33 1 have told you all about the grandeur of the universe to my best knowledge. I have no knowledge or 
power to describe anything beyond this. 34 There are many other large worlds, unseen by others, 
rolling through the immense space of vacuum, like giddy yaksha demons revel in the dark and dismal 
deserts and forests. 

Chapter 31 — Lee la & Saras wati Arrive on Earth; Fate of Good & Bad Fallen in War 

I Vasishta said: — 

After having seen the worlds in their aerial journey, the ladies arrived on earth and quickly entered 
King Padma's inner apartment. 2 There they saw the king's dead body lying in state under heaps of 
flowers, Leela's spiritual body sitting beside the corpse. 3 It was the dead of night and the residents 
had fallen into sound sleep one by one. The room was perfumed with the incense of resin, camphor, 
sandalwood and saffron. 

4 Leela, seeing the house of her late husband and wishing to enter it, came to his tomb in her assumed 
body. 5 Then she passed through the fictitious spacious palace of her lord by breaking out of the 
confines of her body and head that in yoga terminology are called earthly and worldly environs. 
6 Then with the goddess she went again to the bright and spacious temple of the world and quickly 
entered. 7 She saw her husband's imaginary world (that of King Viduratha) like a dirty and mossy 
pool, just like a lioness beholds a mountain cave covered by darkness and clouds. 8 Then the two 
goddesses entered that empty world with their airy bodies, like weak ants make their passage through 
the hard crust of the wood-apple. 9 There they passed through regions of cloudy hills and skies, and 
reached the surface of the earth, consisting of tracts of land and basins of water. 10 They came to the 
continent of Jambu (Asia) situated amid the nine-fold petals of the other continents, and from there 
proceeded to the territories of Leela's husband in the land of Bharata (India). 

II During this time they saw a certain prince (the ruler of Sindh), strengthened by other chiefs, making 
an attack on this land which was the beauty of the world. 12 They saw the air crowded by people of 
the three worlds who had assembled to see the conflict. 13 They remained undaunted, and saw the air 
crowded by aerial beings in groups like clouds. 

1 4 There were the spiritual masters (siddhas), charana and sura demigods, celestial gandharvas, 
supernatural vidyadharas, and other celestials and apsara nature spirits in large bodies. 15 There were 
also bhuta and pisacha demons, and rakshasa demon cannibals; while female vidyadhara were 
flinging handfiils of flowers on the combatants like showers of rain. 16 The evil-spirit vetalas, yakshas 
and kushmands were looking at the battle with pleasure, taking the shelter of hills to avoid flying 
arrows and weapons. 17 The imps were flying from the air to keep out of the path of flying weapons. 
The spectators were excited by sound of the combatants' war cries. 

1 8 Leela, who was standing by with a fan in her hand, was frightened at the imminent, dreadful 
conflict. She smiled in scorn at the boasting on each side. 1 9 Virtuous people unable to endure the 
horrid sight took to praying with the chief priests to avert the calamity. 

20 Indra's messengers were ready with their decorated elephants to bear the souls of mighty heroes to 
grace the seats of heaven. 2 1 The demigod charanas and gandharvas sang praises of the advancing 
heroes. Those heavenly apsara nymphs who liked heroism were glancing at the best combatants. 

22 Wuptuous women wished to embrace the arms of the brave. The fair fame of the heroes had turned 
the hot sunshine to cool moonlight. 

23 Rama asked, "Tell me, sage, what sort of a warrior is called a hero and becomes a jewel in 

heaven, and who is an insurgent?" 
24 Vasishta answered: — 

He who engages in a lawful warfare and fights for his king, whether he dies or becomes victorious in 
the field, is called a hero and goes to heaven. 25 Whoever otherwise kills men in war for an unjust 
cause and dies is called an insurgent and goes to hell. 26 Whoever fights for unlawful property and 
dies in battle becomes subject to everlasting hellfire. 27 Whoever wages a war justified by law and 
custom, that warrior is called both loyal and heroic in deed. 28 Whoever dies in war with a willing 
mind to protect cattle, brahmins and friends, and whoever protects his guest and refugee with all 
diligence, after his death he truly becomes an ornament in heaven. 

29 The king who is steadfast protecting his subjects and his own country is called just, and those who 
die in his cause are called brave. 30 They who die fighting on the side of riotous subjects, or in the 
cause of rebellious princes or chiefs, are doomed to fire. 3 1 They who die fighting unjustly against 
their kings, law-givers and rulers are subjected to the torments of hell. 

32 A war that is just serves to establish order, but the unsteady who are mindless of the future destroy 
all order. 33 'The hero dying goes to heaven' is the common saying. Scriptures call the lawful warrior 
a hero, and not otherwise. 34 They who suffer wounds while protecting the righteous and good are 
said to be heroes. Otherwise, they are insurgents. 

35 It was in expectation of seeing such heroes that the maidens of the gods were standing in the air and 
talking among themselves about becoming the wives of such warriors. 36 The air was decorated by an 
illumination on high, and by rows of beautiful heavenly cars of gods and masters, and by the presence 
of celestial maidens who sang in sweet notes and decorated their hair with mandara flowers. 

Chapter 32 — Onset of the War 

I Vasishta said: — 

Leela, standing in air with the goddess of wisdom, saw the apsara nymphs dancing with eagerness for 
the war between combatants below. 2 She saw the armies assemble in her own territory once 
governed by her lord. She saw the field of the air no less formidable because of the assembled ghosts. 

3 The meeting of the two armies made the ground appear like a billowy sea, or like two clouds 
meeting in the sky with the appearance of two hostile forces. 4 The battle array of armored warriors, 
flashing like the fire of heaven, was followed by their commingled blows resembling the rattling of 
thunder above, deafening the ears and dazzling the sight. 5 Then darts and javelins, spears and lances, 
and many other missiles began to fall on both sides, like showers of raindrops, hailstones and 
meteorites from the skies. 6 Showers of shafts fell with a force that would pierce the wings of garuda. 
As they hit the warriors, they covered the glare of the sun off their armor. 

7 Combatants stood face to face with their arms lifted, steadily staring at each other as if they were 
pictures in a painting. 8 Armies arranged in long regiments, standing in lines opposite each other, 
repeatedly shouted and answered each another. 9 The battle array of both armies, and the drums on 
each side, were stopped by their leaders warnings against striking the first blow. l ° The space that 
separated the hostile forces was the breadth of two bows, like a bridge from one another. It looked 
like a gap caused by winds in the middle of the ocean at the universal deluge. 

II Leaders were drowned in thoughts of fear of bloodshed and massacre. Cowardly soldiers groaned 
in their hearts with the hoarse noise of croaking frogs. 12 There were many brave ones eager to yield 
their precious lives in a trice. Archers stood with bowstrings drawn to the ear, ready to let their 
pointed arrows loose at the foe. 13 Others stood dreadfully fixed to strike their arms upon the enemy. 
Many with frowning looks stared sternly at their adversaries. 

14 Armor was clashing, the faces of killers were burning with rage, and the faces of cowards turned 
towards sheltered retreats, ready for flight. 15 All stood in doubt of their lives until the end of the war, 
and the bodies of old men, like big elephants, were covered with goose bumps. 

1 6 The silence in anticipation of the first blow resembled the calm of the stormy main or the deep 
sleep of a city at the dead of night. 17 Musical instruments, drum and conch-shell were all silent, and a 
thick cloud of dust covered the face of the earth and sky. 1 8 The retreaters were flying from their 
stronger assailants, who kept running after them like sharks after shoals of fish in the sea. 1 9 The 
glittering fringes of flags put the ethereal stars to blush, and the lifted goads in the hands of the 
elephant-drivers made a forest of tapering trees in the sky. 20 Arrows flew in the air like flocks of the 
winged tribe, and the loud beating of drums and blowing of pipes resounded in the air. 

21 A round phalanx attacked a host of wicked demons, and a squadron in garuda formation of right and 
left wings attacked a body of elephants. 22 Somewhere a great howling arose from the vanguard of a 
body of troops thrown into disorder by a cohort in the form of eagles. In another place, many were 
seen shouting and attacking each another. 23 Warriors of many legions raised a tremendous noise, and 
the hands of combatants raised a host of large clubs. 24 The glare of dark steel shaded sunbeams like a 

cloud. Darts hissing in the air resembled the rustling of breeze amidst the dry leaves of trees. 

25 Now began the main battle, like the dashing of clouds upon clouds at the end of a kalpa age. War 
raged like sea whipped by a hurricane. 26 Big elephants fell in the field like coal-black rocks hurled 
down by gusts of wind. 27 It seemed like infernal spirits had been let loose from their caves of hell to 
rage in the battlefield with their horrid and dismal figures. 28 The dark cloud of swords hid daylight 
and warriors raised their black spears, seemingly bent upon converting the earth into an ocean of 

Chapter 33 — The Battle: the Armies Engage 

[The whole of this chapter abounds in onomatopoeian alliterations, and is more a play upon words 
than display of sense. However, it is interesting for these jingling words and for the names of the 
weapons in use among the ancients. — V. L. Mitra] 

1 Rama said, "Sage, describe this warfare to me, as I love stories of this kind." 

2 Vasishta said: — 

The ladies, in order to have a better view of the battle below, ascended in their imaginary aerial cars 
to a more retired spot in the higher regions of the sky. 

3 At this time, the two armies clashed and mingled, fighting each other with shouts, like waves dashing 
against one another in a raging sea. 4 Viduratha, the lord of the realm (formerly Padma, the husband of 
Leela), impatient seeing a bold warrior from the other army attack one of his soldiers, used his huge 
mallet to strike him on the breast. 5 Then the battle raged with the impetuosity of rolling waves in a 
stormy ocean. Arms on both sides flamed with living fire and flashes of fiery lightning. 

6 Now the edges of waving swords glittered in the sky. Cracking and clashing noises filled the air 
with a hideous crackling. 7 Then flew winged arrows overshadowing sunbeams and emitting a 
booming noise that hushed the rattling clamor of summer clouds. 8 Armor clashed against armor with a 
clanking noise, shooting sparks of glistening fire. Arms, hacking and slashing against arms, filled the 
air with their fragments flying like birds in the air. 

9 The shaking arms and legs of the two armies appeared like a forest moving on the land. The twang of 
their bows and the rumbling of discs, crackling like the rattling drive of wheels in heaven, drove 
away the birds of the air. 10 The hissing of their loosened strings resembled the bee-like buzzing heard 
in samadhi. n Iron shafts pierced the heads of the soldiers like sleets of hailstones, and the crashing of 
armor broke arms of the mail-clad warriors. 12 Weapons struck brazen armor with a howling noise 
and clanking sound. Strokes flying like drifts of rainwater dented the face of the air on all sides. 

13 Steel striking steel made hands ring with a jingling sound, and the continued rapping on arms and 
clapping of hands raised chat-chat and pat-pat sounds. l 4 The whizzing noise as swords were 
unsheathed was like the hissing of sparks from fire. The sounds of arrows and darts flying in all 
directions were like the rustling of falling leaves in autumn. 

15 The field was filled with blood spouting from throats separated from bodies, mangled limbs and 
heads, and broken swords. 1 6 The flame of fire flaring from armor emblazoned the hairs of the 
warriors. The sound of weapons as swordsmen fought and fell raised a giddy and loud jingling. 
1 7 Tall elephants, pierced by spears, poured out torrents of red-hot blood; while their kin gored 
bodies with shrill cries. 1 8 Others, crushed by the ponderous maces of their antagonists, creaked 
grievously under the blows while heads of slain soldiers swam in rivers of blood over the plain. 

19 Here hungry vultures were pouncing from above, and there the sky was covered by a cloud of dust. 
Weaponless soldiers fought with their hands, pulling each other down by the hair. 

Chapter 34 — The Battle as Seen by Onlookers 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 The generals and ministers of the warring sides, and the aerial spectators of the battles, were talking 
among themselves this way. 

2 See, here the ground has become a lake of blood, with heads of slaughtered hosts floating like 
lotuses upon it. And there the air has become like the starry heaven, glittering with broken weapons 
flying like birds in the sky. 3 Behold the air is red with the particles of bright red blood borne above 
by the winds. It is midday, but the sky presents evening clouds with the glow of the setting sun. 

4 What are these, says one, that are flying like straws in the sky? They are, says the other, no straws 
but the flight of arrows that have filled the air. 5 Another cries that as long as the dust of the earth is 
wet with the blood of the brave, heroes are entitled to glory and have their home in heaven for 
myriads of years. 6 A scripture says to fear not these dark swords whose blades are worn by the brave 
like petals of blue lotuses about their breasts, and the brave are favorites in the eyes of the goddess of 

7 The heavenly apsara nymphs that saw the fighting and felt a desire to embrace the brave. The god of 
the flowery bow (Kama, the God of Love) was busy loosening their waist bands. 8 They beckoned 
their welcome by waving their reddened palms, by shaking red leaves on trees, by the round glances 
of their eyes, in the blooming blossoms of plants, and by the perfume of their breath in the honey 
fragrance of flowers. 9 The guardian spirits of the pleasure gardens of paradise sang sweet notes with 
the woodland choir and danced in the wagging tails of peacocks. 10 As a brave warrior broke the 
enemy line with his hardy axe, his beloved was breaking his hard heart and spirit with the soft glances 
of her eyes. 

11 It is by my lance, says the lancer, that I have severed the head of my enemy with rings in his ears, 
like the head of the ascending node of Rahu approaching the disc of the sun. 1 2 Look, there is a 
champion hurling blocks of stones attached to the end of a chain reaching his feet! There is another, 
whirling his wonderful log of wood held in his uplifted arm. 13 There comes that warrior in the form 
of Yama, the God of the underworld, appearing from the region of the dead spirits and spreading a 
horrid devastation all around. Come let us go back the way we came. 14 Look at these ravenous birds 
greedily plunging their long necks into the flesh of bodies just separated from their heads, and glutting 
themselves with the gushing blood. See there the headless trunk of the slain moving to and fro in the 
field of battle. 

15 The eloquent among the spectators were talking to one another about the frailty of human life and 
the uncertainly of the time of their meeting in the next world. 16 0, the stern cannibal of death, says 
one, that devours entire bodies of armies in one swoop, now weltering in blood, and levels the 
leveling hosts to the ground. 

1 7 The showers of arrows falling on the elephants resemble the showers of raindrops on mountain 
tops. The darts sticking to their front bones are like bolts of lightening piercing the cliff tops. 18 While 
a headless body was groveling on the ground for lack of its head, its head was flying on high like a 
bird of air, proclaiming its immortality in heaven. 19 The army harassed by stones slung at their heads 

cried to entrap the enemy in the snares set at their feet. 

20 Wives that had become apsaras (heavenly nymphs) after death, were now eager to claim their 
husbands, restored to their youth by virtue of falling in the field of battle. 21 The glaring light of the 
line of lances that had reached the skies seemed like a flight of stairs or golden vistas for the ascent of 
the brave to the gates of heaven. 22 The wife of the slain soldier, now a heavenly goddess, taking 
possession of her husband's fair gold-like breast, was looking about in search of another. 

23 Generals, arms waving, wailed loudly over their fallen armies in the field. They appeared like 
cliffs of rocks resounding to the clamorous surges of the sea below. 24 They shouted at warriors to 
fight their best. They cried out to remove the wounded to the rear and not trample the bodies of their 
own soldiers, now lying low on the ground. 

25 Look! There apsaras are eagerly tying their loosened hair and advancing with sobbing bosoms to 
receive the departed warriors joining their company in their celestial forms. 26 Ah, receive our guests 
from afar, says one, on the banks of the rivers of paradise, decorated with golden lotus blossoms, and 
entertain them with fresh water and cooling breeze. 27 Look! There are groups of weapons broken into 
pieces like bones by their impact, huddled in the air with a jingling sound and shining like stars in the 
sky. 28 See the stream of deceased souls flowing in arrow-like currents and rolling in whirlpools of 
flying discs, rapidly gliding with the pebbles and stones flung in the air from the slings. 29 The sky has 
become like a lake of lotuses with lotus-form heads of warriors flung aloft in the air, while flying 
weapons are floating like their stalks with the broken swords all around like their thorns. 30 Flying 
fragments of flags form the skins of the plants, and the darts sticking to them appear like big black 
bees fluttering about the flowers moving with the breeze. 3 1 Arrows sticking to the dead bodies of 
elephants are like ants on mountain tops, and like timid girls clinging to men's bosoms. 

32 Winds unfurling the curling locks of supernatural vidyadhara females indicate their approaching 
nuptials, like in an augury the unfolding plumage of fowls predict success. 33 Lifted umbrellas shine 
like so many moons on high, and the moon itself, shining above in the form of fair fame, spreads her 
light like a white canopy over the earth. 3 4 The brave warrior, soon after his death, assumes a 
celestial form framed by his own merit, just like a man in his sleep attains the state he imagined to 
himself in his waking. 

35 Flying spears, lances, clubs and discs are hurtling in the air like shoals of restless fish and sharks 
moving about constantly in the troubled waters of the sea. 36 Milk-white rags of umbrellas, tattered 
and shattered by arrow shafts, fly like cranes in the crowded air, appearing like the disc of the moon 
broken into a thousand pieces. 37 Fans flying in the air with a hoarse gurgling seem like waves of the 
sea lifted in the air, undulating with a babbling noise in the ocean of the sky. 38 Those scraps of fans 
and umbrellas, ripped by slashing weapons, appear like the laurels of glory flung aloft and flying in 
the regions of air. 

39 Look, O friends, how these flying arrows and showering spears are approaching us with the hits of 
their spoil, like bodies of locusts bearing away their green booty in the air. 40 Listen to the clanking 
sound of steel striking by the uplifted arm of an armored soldier, resounding like the loud alarm of the 
king of death. 41 Hear the tremendous blows of weapons, like the fury of an all destroying tornado, 

throwing down mountain- like elephants, their great ivory tusks lying on the ground like waterfalls. 
42 Look, there the chariot drivers are stopped in their course struggling to make their way through 
puddles of blood in which wheels and horses are stuck together like in a bog of quagmire. 43 The 
jingling of arms and armor and the jangling of swords and steel resound like a lute playing for the 
dancing of the dire and dreaded dame of death. 

44 See the skirts of the sky are reddened by the red particles borne by the winds from streams of blood 
flowing out of the wounds in the bodies of men, horses and elephants lying dead in the field. 45 Look 
at the array of arrows in the air in the shape of a wreath of blossoms, falling like lightning from dark 
black clouds of weapons hanging on high. 4 6 See the surface of the earth filled with blood-red 
weapons appearing like faggots of fire strewn over the ground in a universal conflagration. 4 7 A 
multitude of weapons mingle together clashing and breaking one another into pieces, falling down in 
showers like the innumerable rays of the sun. 

48 The fighting of one man among the motionless many is like the play of a magician acting his parts 
for a bewitched audience. See, there indifferent spectators are viewing the battle as a dream (by their 
prajna or inner vision of the mind). 

49 The field of battle, where all other sounds are hushed under the clashing of arms, resembles the 
stage of the martial god Bhairava chanting his pitiless war song in jarring cacophony. 50 The 
battlefield is turned into a sea of blood filled with the sands of pounded weapons and rolling with the 
waves of broken discuses. 51 The sky is filled with martial music loudly sounding on all sides. Echoes 
off the hills seem to challenge one another in their aerial flight and fighting. 52 Alas, for shame, says 
one, that these arrows flung with such force from bowstrings, flying with such loud hissing, glittering 
like red hot lightning, are foiled in their aim of piercing impenetrable armor and glance off hitting 
stony hills. 53 Hear me friend. You are tired of the sight. It is time for us to leave this place before our 
bodies are pierced by these sharp arrows flashing like fire, and before the day runs its course into the 

Chapter 35 — The Battle: Description of the Battlefield 

[First the battle ground is compared with the sky, then with the sea, next with a forest, and last 
with the final doomsday. — V.L. Mitra.] 

1 Vasishta said: — 

Then waves of cavalry mounting to the sky made the battlefield appear like a raging sea. 2 Moving 
umbrellas floated as its foam and froth, and feathered silvery arrows glided like finny pearly fish, 
while cavalry charges and flights heaved and dashed like surges of the sea. 3 Rushing of weapons 
resembled the running of its currents, and circles of soldiers were its whirlpools. The elephants were 
like its islets and their motions resembled the rocks moving in it. 4 Whirling discs were its eddies, 
and long hair flying on heads its floating weeds. Sparkling sands were its shining waters, and the flash 
of swords its glassy spray. 5 Gigantic warriors were its whales and alligators, and the resounding 
caves like its gurgling whirlpools. 6 Flying arrows were its swimming fishes, and floating flags 
resembled its uprising waves and bores. 7 Shining weapons formed the waters of this ocean and their 
whirlpools also, while the long lines of forces appeared like the huge and horrible bodies of its 
whales. 8 Soldiers clad in black iron armor were like the dark blue waters of the deep, and headless 
bodies groveling in dust were like the whirling currents of the sea, with scattered weapons like sea 

9 Showers of arrows hid the skies with a mist, and the confused rattling of the battlefield was like the 
roaring of clouds. 10 Flying and falling heads of slain soldiers resembled large drops of rain, and their 
bodies were like pieces of wood whirling in the eddies of the discs. n The bold archer, bending his 
strong bow in the form of a curve and leaping above the ground, resembled the spouting sea rising 
from under the ground with heaving waves. 12 The unnumbered umbrellas and flags that were moving 
up and down the field were like the foaming and frothing of the sea, rolling in waves of blood and 
carrying away the beams and timbers of broken chariots in its current. 13 The army's march resembled 
the flow of seawater, and the blood spouting from the wounds of elephants were like its bubbles, 
while the moving horses and elephants represented the sea animals in their motion. 

1 4 The battlefield had become like a wonderful field of the air in which the furious war, like a 
tremendous earthquake, shook hills like moving clouds in the sky. 15 Here the waves were undulating 
like flights of birds in the air, and groups of elephants falling aground like rocks, and the cowardly 
ranks murmured like herds of frightened deer. 16 The field has become a forest of arrows. Wounded 
soldiers are standing fixed on the ground like trees, arrows flying like locusts, and horses moving like 

17 Here a loud drum sounded like the humming of bees in the hollows of trees. The army appears like 
a mist with a bold warrior sprawling like a lion in it. 18 Dust was rising in clouds and forces falling 
like rocks. Huge, broken chariots looked like hills, and flaming swords shined on all sides. 1 9 The 
rise and fall of soldiers' feet flitted like falling flowers on the ground, and flags and umbrellas rose 
above it like clouds. All was covered with streams of blood, and high-sounding elephants fell like 
thundering showers of rain. 

20 The war was like the last doom of death ready to devour the world, destroying flags, banners, 
umbrellas and chariots in a contused chaos. 21 Shining weapons fell like fragments of the bight sun, 
burning all things like a burning pain inflames the soul and mind. 22 The stretched bows were like 
rainbows, and falling arrows like showers of rain. Flying sabers resembled forked lightning, and their 
falling fragments like sparkling hailstones. 

23 The dire massacre made a sea of blood with hurling stones as its shoals and rocks. Flying arms 
resembled stars falling from heaven. 24 The sky was like a sea full of whirlpools of discs hurled 
through the air. There were burning fires performing funerals of the slain. 25 Missiles were like bolts 
of thunder that struck rock-like elephants dead in the field to block the passage of men. 26 Earth and 
sky were hidden by a thick cloud of showering arrows, and the army below was a sea of tempestuous 
warfare and bloodshed. 27 Destructive weapons were flying on all sides, like huge dragons of the sea 
carried aloft by gusts of wind from the stormy main. 28 The flying arms of bolts, swords, discs, pikes 
and lances were blazing and breaking one another in the air with such hideous noise that it seemed to 
be a second deluge, when the last tornado blew up everything on high, scattering them in all 
directions, crushing and smashing them with a tremendous peal. 

Chapter 36 — The Battle: Duels between Equals; Catalogue of Forces 

Vasishta speaking: — 

I Heaps of arrows rising in spires above the ground drove the cowards and the wounded far away 
from the battlefield. 2 Hills of dead bodies of men, horses and elephants, heaving in promiscuous 
heaps and appearing like clouds fallen upon earth, invited the demon yakshas, rakshasas and 
carnivorous pisachas to come and play in the wide ocean of blood. 

3 Now there commenced a contest between men of equal rank and virtue among those of good 
character, valor and strength on both sides. All took part in the combat, even holy householders. 

4 They fought duels like one cloud clashing with another, and like the confluence of two streams 
discharging their fury against each other. 5 As a rib is joined to another, and one side with the other, 
so met horse against the horse and elephant against elephant in mutual conflict. 6 As one forest clasps 
and clings to another, and as one hill is linked with another in a range, so the duelists struggled with 
each other like one wave dashing against the other. 7 Footmen fought with footmen like reeds crush 
reeds and bamboo strikes each another in swirling winds. 8 Chariots fell upon chariots and broke each 
another to pieces. Citizens beat rustics, like the gods smote the demons of old. 

9 The sky which had been clouded by flights of arrows was now emblazoned by the archer's banner 
resembling a rainbow of various colors. 10 At last the warriors who were overpowered in their 
conflict fled from the field, as people do from a fire. 

I I Now armor-bearers with discuses met in contest with those who shielded against discs, archers 
opposed archers, and swordsmen challenged the other side's sword fighters. So hookers and crookers 
challenged their co-rivals with crowbars in hand. 12 Maces were opposed to maces, and lancers were 
set against the lance bearers in fighting. Spearmen braved spearmen, and the throwers of missiles 
were crossed with missiles in hand. 1 3 Mallets fought against mallets, and clubs were opposed by 
clubmen in the conflict. Combatants with pikes encountered pike men face to face, and iron rods were 
crossed in strife against pointed tridents. 14 Fighters with missile weapons counteracted the missiles 
of their enemies, and those fighting with battleaxes resisted the poleaxes and pickaxes of their foes. 
15 Trappers with their traps and snares attacked the darters of nooses and lassos. Those who threw 
javelins withstood the javelins of the throwers on the other side. Daggers opposed daggers and 
cudgels fought cudgels. 16 Combatants with iron gloves opposed boxers with iron fisticuffs, and those 
with iron cranes in hand pursued fighters with crooked goads. Warriors with ploughshares attacked 
ploughmen, and those with tridents fell upon the opposing trident holders. 17 Champions with chained 
armor set upon soldiers attired in mail. They poured on the field like flights of locusts or like the 
waves in the troubled sea. 

18 The air also appeared like a sea, with flying discs whirling like whirlpools and the flight of reeds 
whistling like gusts of wind. Various flying weapons seemed like sharks and dolphins moving about 
it. 19 The sky of the heavens became the great deep of the sea, impassable by celestials owing to the 
waves of weapons moving like sea monsters in the air. 2 ° Thus the armies of the two belligerent 
rulers, each composed of eight divisions as described below, furiously engaged one another. 

21 Now hear me relate to you, the forces on the side of Padma, now named King Viduratha, and the 

allied powers that came to his side from the Central and Eastern districts. 22 There came the hardy 
warriors of Kosala and Benares; those of Magadha and Utkala, situated in the east; and the Mekhalas 
(of Vindhya range), the Karkars (of Karnatic), and the Madras in the south. 23 The chiefs of Hema and 
Rudras and the Tamils from the south; the Pragjyotishas, and the horse faced Osmuks and Ambashtha 
cannibals. 24 Then there joined the Varna-koshthas and Viswotras, and the eaters of raw food and 
flesh and the fish eaters; and those with faces like tigers, the Kiratas, with the Sauviras and one 
legged people. 25 Next came the mountaineers of Malyavana, Sibira and Anjanagiri; and others having 
the ensigns of bulls and lotuses, and the people of the sun rising mountain in the east. 26 Those that 
joined from the south east, are the following, namely: the Vmdhyaris, the Chedis, the Vatsas, the 
Dasarnas (near the confluence of the ten streams); and the Angas, Bangas and Upabangas (of Upper 
and Lower Bengal). 27 They that met from the south were, Kalingas and Pundras, the Jatharas, 
Vidarbhas and the hill people; the Sabaras, the outcaste tribals, the Karnas and the Tripura people. 
28 Those named Kantakas from their thorny district, the unenlightened Komalas; the Canarese, the 
Andhras, the Cholas and the people on the borders of the Charmanvati river. 29 The Kakos or bald- 
headed and bearded people, and those of the Hemakuta Hills; the frizzled and long necked people, 
and the inhabitants of Kishkindha and cocoa forests. 30 The princes that joined with Leela's husband 
from the south, were as follows: the Vindhyans, the Kusumians (of Patna), the Mahendras and the 
Darduras. 31 The Malays and the solar race, and the Prince of the thirty-three united states and the rich 
and united cities of Avanti and Sambavati. 32 And those of Dasapura of Katha, Chakra, Reshika Cutch 
and others, and the foresters of Upagiri and Bhadragiri Hills. 33 The prince of Nagore and the chiefs 
of Dandaka Forest, and the joint states of the people; the Sahas, Saivas, and the hill people of the 
Rishyamuka and Karkota and the Vimbila foresters. 34 Then came the inhabitants from the banks of 
Pampa, the Kerakas and Karkaviras; with the Kherikas, Asikas and the people of Dhrumapattana. 35 
Next came the Kasikas and Khallukas, the Yadas and Tamraparnikas; the Gonardas, the Kanakas and 
the people of Dinapattam. 36 The Tamils, Kadambharas, Sahakaras and Deer Hunters, the Vaitundas, 
Tumbavanalas, and those attired in deer and elephant skins. 37 Then came the lotus-like Sibis and 
Konkans and the inhabitants of Chitrakuta mountains; with the people of Karnata, the Mantas, Batakas 
and those of Cattak. 38 The Andhras and Kola hill people, the Avantis and Chedis; with the Chandas 
and Devanakas and Krauncha-vahas. 39 At last came the people from the three peaks of Chitrakuta 
mountains, called the Silakhara, Nanda mardana and Malaya, which were the seats of the guardian 
Bakshasas of Lanka. 40 Then those of the southwest where there is the great realm of Surat, with the 
kingdoms of the Sind, Sauvira, Abhira, and Dravidas (in Deccan). 41 Also those of the districts of 
Kikata, Siddha Khanda, and Kaliruha, and Mount Hemagiri or golden hills and the Raivataka range. 
42 Then the warriors of Jaya Kachchha, and Mewar; as also the Yavanas, the Bahlikas, the Marganas 
(nomads), and the grey colored Tumbas (on the north). 43 Then there came Lahsa races and many hill 
peoples, inhabiting the borders of the sea, forming the limit of the dominion of Leela's husband on the 

44 Now know the names of the countries belonging to the enemy in the west, and of those composed of 
the following mountain ranges, namely, 45 Mount Maniman and the Kurarpana Hills, with the hillocks 
of Vanorka, Meghabhava, and Chakravana Mountain. 4 6 There is the country of the five peoples 
limiting the territory of the Kasa brahmins, and after that the Bharaksha, the Paraka and Santika 

countries. 47 Thence stretch the countries of the Saivyas, Amarakas, the Paschatyas and Guhutwas; and 
then the Haihaya country and those of the Suhyas, Gayas and Tajikas and Hunas. 48 Then along the 
side of some other countries, there is the range of Karka Hills, inhabited by barbarous people, devoid 
of caste, customs and limits of moral duties. 49 Thence stretches a country hundreds of leagues in 
length, to the boundary mountain of Mahendra, abounding in rich stones and gems. 50 After that stands 
the Aswa Range with hundreds of hills about it; and extending to the dread ocean on the north of the 
Pariyatra Range. 51 On the north western side, there are countries beyond the boundary mountains (of 
Asia), where Venupati was the king of the land. 52 Then there are the countries of the Phalgunakas and 
Mandavayas and many other peoples; and those of Purukundas and Paras as bright as the orb of the 
sun. 53 Then the races of Vanmilas and Nalinas and the Dirghas; who are so called, from their tall 
statures and long arms and hairs. Then there are the Rangas, Stanikas with protuberant breasts, and the 
Guruhas and Chaluhas. 54 After that is the kingdom of women, where they feed upon bullocks and 
heifers. Now about the Himalayas and its hills in the north (of India): 55 these are the Krauncha and 
Madhuman hills; and the Kailasa, Vasuman and the Sumeru peaks; at the foot of which are the people, 
known under many names. 56 Beside these there met the warlike tribes of India consisting of the 
Madrawars, Malavas and Sura-senas. The Rajputs of the race of Arjuna, the Trigartas and the one 
legged people and Khudras. 57 There were the Abalas, Prakhalas, and Sakas. The Khemadhurtas, the 
Dasadhanas, the Gavasanas and Club Fighters. 58 The Dhanadas and Sarakas and Batadhanas also, 
with the islanders and Gandharas and Avanti warriors of Malwa. 59 The warlike Taxilas, the Bilavas, 
Godhanas and the renowned warriors of Pushkara. 60 Then there were the Tikshas and Kalavaras, and 
the inhabitants of the cities of Kanaka and Surabhuti likewise. 6 1 There were the people of the 
Ratikadarsa and Antaradarsa also; and the Pingalas, the Pandyas, Yamanas and Yatudhanas demons 
too. 62 There were also the races of men, known as Hematalas and Osmuks, together with the hilly 
tribes, inhabiting the Himalaya, Vasuman, Krauncha and Kailasa Mountains. 63 Hear me now relate to 
you the peoples that came from the north east quarter, which extends a hundred and eighty leagues in 
its circumference. 64 There came also the Kalutas and Brahmaputras, the Kunidas and Khudinas, with 
the warlike Malavas and the champions of the Randhra and forest states. 65 Then there were the 
Kedavas and Sinhaputras of dwarfish statures; the Sabas, the Kaccaes, the Pahlavis, the Kamiras and 
the Daradas. 66 There were also the people of Abhisa, the Jarvakas, the Pulolas and Kuves; the 
Kiratas and Yamupatas, together with the poor and rich people of desert lands and tracts of gold. 

67 Thus Leela in one vision saw the homes of the gods and the forest lands and the earth in all their 
beauty. She saw all the seats of opulence and the buildings with which they were adorned. She saw 
the summit of Kailash and the delightful groves at its foot, and the level lands traversed by the aerial 
cars of vidyadhara and other celestial beings. 

Chapter 37 — The Battle: Catalogue of Forces Continued 

[It is not easy to say whether this lengthy description of the battle is Vasishta 's or Valmiki 's own 
making. Both of them were well acquainted with military tactics. Vasishta was the general of King 
Sudasa against the Persians. Valmiki was the epic poet of Rama 's wars with Ravana in the 
celebrated Ramayana. These descriptions are left out in the translations of this work as entirely 
useless in yoga philosophy without regard that they formed the preliminary step to Rama 's 
military education, which he was soon after called to complete under the guidance of Vishwamitra 
in his hermitage. — V. L. Mitra] 


Vasishta said: 

Thus the ravaging war was making a rapid end of men, horse, elephants and all. The brave coming 
foremost in the combat fell in equal numbers on both sides. 2 These and many others were reduced to 
dust and ashes. The bravery of the brave served only to send them like poor moths to the fire and 
flame of destruction. 

3 Know now the names of the central districts, not yet mentioned by me, that sent their warriors to the 
field, in favor of the consort prince of Leela. 4 These were the inland forces of Sursena, the Gudas, 
and the Asganas; the Madhymikas and they that dwell in the tropics. 5 The Salukas and Kodmals, and 
Pippalayanas; the Mandavyas, Pandyans, Sugrivas and Gurjars. 6 The Pariyatras, Kurashtras, 
Yamunas and Udumvaras; the Raj-waras, the Ujjainas, the Kalkotas and the Mathuras (of Muttra). 

7 The Panchalas, the Northern and Southern Dharmakshetras; the Kurukshetriyas, Panchalakas and 

8 The line of war chariots from Avanti, being opposed by the arms of the warriors of the Kunta and 
Panchanada districts, fell in fighting by the sides of the hills. 9 Those arrayed in silk clothes, being 
defeated by the enemy, fell upon the ground and were trodden down by elephants. 10 The brave of 
Daspura, being hacked in their breasts and shoulders by enemy weapons, were pursued by the 
Banabhuma warriors and driven to a distant pool. n The Santikas, being ripped in their bellies, lay 
dead and motionless in naked field, wrapped in their mangled entrails that were torn and devoured by 
the voracious pisachas at night. 12 Veteran and outspoken warriors of Bhadrasiri, well skilled in the 
battlefield, drove the Amargas into a ditch like tortoises to their pits. 13 The Haihayas were driving 
the Dandakas, who fled like fleet stags flying with the swiftness of winds, gushing blood drawn by 
pointed, piercing enemy arrows. 14 The Daradas, gored by the tusks of enemy elephants, were carried 
away like broken tree branches in the floods of their blood. 15 The Chinas, bodies mangled by darts 
and arrows, cast themselves in the water, their bodies a burden they could no longer bear. 1 6 The 
demons, pierced in their necks by Karnatic lancers, fled in all directions like faggots of fire, or like 
the flying meteors of heaven. 17 The Sakas and Dasakas fought each other by pulling the other's hair, 
as if whales and elephants were struggling mutually with their respective elements. l 8 Fleeing 
cowards were trapped in snares cast by the Dasarna warriors, like dolphins hiding under reeds are 
dragged out by nets on a blood-red shore. 19 The Tongas' swords and pikes destroyed the Gurjara 
force by the hundreds, and like razors shaved the heads of hundreds of Gurjara women. 

20 The luster of the warriors' weapons illuminated the land like flashes of lighting, and clouds of 
arrows rained like showers in the forest. 21 A flight of the crowbars obscured the sun and frightened 
the Abhira warriors with the dread of an eclipse. They were as surprised as if ambushed by a gang of 
plunderers after their cattle. 2 2 Handsome gold collared, tawny colored Tamras soldiers were 
dragged by the Gauda warriors, as captors snatch their fair captives by the hair. 23 Like cranes by 
vultures, Tongons were beset by Kanasas with their blazing weapons, destroying elephants and 
breaking discuses. 24 The rumbling noise raised by Gauda warriors whirling their cudgels frightened 
the Gandharas so much that they were driven from the field like a herd of beasts, or like the fearful 
Dravidas. 25 A host of Saka warriors, dressed in black like the mist of night, poured like a blue torrent 
from the blue sky before their white-robed foes, the Persians. 

26 The crowded array of arms lifted in the clear and bright sky appeared like a thick forest under a 
milk white ocean of frost that shrouds the mountainous region of Mandara. 27 From below, the flights 
of arrows appeared like cloud fragments in the air, and when viewed from above by the celestials, 
appeared like waves of the sea. 28 The air was a forest thickly beset by trees of spears and lances, 
with arrows flying like birds and bees, and innumerable umbrellas, with their gold and silver 
mountings, appearing as so many moons and stars in the sky. 

29 Kekayas made loud shouts, like the war hoops of drunken soldiers. Kankas covered the field like a 
flight of cranes, and the sky was filled with dust over their heads. 3 ° The Kirata army made a 
murmuring sound like the effeminate voices of women, causing the lusty Angas to rush upon them with 
a furious roar. 3 1 Khasias, bodies covered with kusa grass, appeared like birds with feathers, and 
raised clouds of dust by flapping their feathered arms. 32 The whirling warriors of Narmada's coasts 
came rushing unarmed into the field and began to mock, deride, flout and move about in their merry 
mood. 33 Low statured Salwas came with bells jingling on their waist bands, flinging their arrows in 
the air, and throwing showers of their darts. 34 The soldiers of Sibi were pierced by spears hurled by 
the Kuntas. They fell as dead bodies in the field, but their spirits fled to heaven in the form of 
vidyadharas. 35 A mighty, light footed army took possession of the field and in its quick march, laid 
the Pandunagaras groveling on the ground. 36 Big Punjabis and furious warriors from Benares crushed 
the bodies of stalwart warriors with their lances and cudgels, like elephants crush mighty trees under 
their feet and tusks. 37 Burmese and Vatsenis were cut down by the discs of the Nepalese. Saws cut 
down Sahyas like withered trees. 38 Heads of white Kaka, were lopped off with sharp axes. Their 
neighboring prince of the Bhadras was burnt down by the fiery arrows. 39 Matangajas fell under the 
hands of Kashthayodhas like old, unchained elephants fall into a miry pit. Others who came to fight 
fell like dry fuel in a blazing fire. 40 Mitragartas fell into the hands of Trigartas and were scattered 
about the field like straws, and having their heads struck off as they fled, they entered the infernal 
regions of death. 41 The weak Vanila force, falling into the hands of a Magadha army that resembled a 
sea gently shaken by the breeze, went down in the sands like thin, aged elephants. 42 Chedis lost their 
lines fighting the Tongans and lay withered on the battlefield, like scattered flowers fading under the 
shining sun. 4 3 Kosalas were unable to withstand the war cry of the deadly Pauravas, routed by 
showers of clubs, arrows and darts. 44 Those pierced by pikes and spears looked like coral plants, 
red with blood all over their bodies, and fled to the sheltering hills like red hot suns to the setting 

mountains. 45 Flights of arrows and weapons, carried away by strong winds, moved in the air like 
cloud fragments with a swarm of black bees hovering under them 46 Flying arrows wandering with 
the roar of elephants appeared to be showering clouds, their feathers appeared as the woolly breed, 
their reedy shafts seemed like trees. 47 Wild elephants and people of the plains were all torn to pieces 
like bits of torn linen. 4 8 War chariots with broken wheels fell into pits like the broken crags of 
mountains. The enemy stood upon their tops like a thick mist or cloud. 4 9 The hosts of stalwart 
warriors meeting on the battlefield gave it the appearance of a forest of palm and tamara trees, but 
when weapons chopped off their arms, they made it appear like a mountainous wood with clumps of 
stunted pine trees. 

50 The youthful maidens of paradise were filled with joy and glee to find the groves of their native hill 
(Mem) full of brave champions (fallen in the field). 

51 The forest of the army howled in a tremendous roar until it was burnt down by the all devouring fire 
of the enemy. 52 Hacked by the Assamese, their weapons snatched by the Bhutas, the Dasarnas threw 
away their staffs and fled like a herd of cows. 53 The Kasias by their valor were eager to despoil the 
tinsels from the dead bodies of the chiefs, like summer heat robs the beauty from lotuses in a drying 
pool. 54 Tushakas were beset by Mesalas with darts, spears and mallets. The sly Katakas were 
defeated and driven away by the Narakas. 55 Kauntas were surrounded by Prastha warriors and were 
defeated like good people by the treachery of the wily. 56 The elephant drivers who had struck off the 
heads of their hosts in a trice, were pursued by harpooners and fled with their severed heads like the 
lotus flowers plucked by their hands. 57 The Saraswatas fought on both sides with one another until it 
was evening, and yet no party was the looser or gainer, just like a learned discussion among pundits 
or lawyers. 58 The puny and short statured Deccans, driven back by the demons of Lanka, redoubled 
their attack against them, like smoldering fire is rekindled by fresh fuel. 

59 Rama, what more shall I say about this war which baffles even Sesha, with his hundred tongues and 
mouths, to attempt a full description? 

Chapter 38 — The Battle: End of the Day, the Battlefield after Cessation of Fighting 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

Now as the war waged fiercely, with mingled shouts on both sides, the sun shrouded his polished 
armor under the mist of darkness and was about to set. 

2 The waters of limpid streams glided over the showers of stones flung by the forces that fell on the 
fading clusters of lotuses growing in them 3 The clashing of shafts and darts glittered like flashes of 
fire in the sky, and waves of arrows were seen, now approaching close and then receding at a 
distance. 4 Below, severed heads floated in whirlpools of blood like loose lotuses, while above, the 
sea of heaven was filled with flying weapons moving like marine animals. 5 The rustling of the breeze 
and the whistling of clouds of weapons frightened the aerial masters and woodland apes with fear of 
an approaching rain. 

6 The day declined after it had run its course of eight watches and assumed the graceful countenance 
of a hero returning in glory after he has fought his battle. 7 The army, like the day, declined in 
splendor, being battered in its cavalry and shattered in its force of elephants. 8 Army commanders, in 
concert with the ministers of war, sent envoys to the hostile parties for a truce to the fighting. 9 Both 
parties, seeing how much they lost in the engagement, agreed to a truce and the soldiers gave their 
assent with one voice. 

10 They hoisted their soaring banners of truce on the tops of the highest chariots, and a mounted crier 
on each side proclaimed the truce to the armies below. 1 1 They unfurled white flags on all sides, 
which like so many moons in the gloom of night, proclaimed peace on earth by cessation from 
fighting. 12 Then the drums delivered their loud peals, resounded by the roaring of clouds above and 
all about. 13 The flights of arrows and weapons that had been raging like fire in the sky now began to 
fall in torrents on the ground below, like the currents of Lake Manasarovar. 1 4 Hands and arms of 
warriors rested like their feet, like the shaking of trees and the surges of the sea end after an 
earthquake. 15 The two armies went their own ways from the field of battle, like inlets of the sea run 
into the land in different directions. 

16 The armies being at rest, there was an end of all agitation in the field, like ocean waves are lulled 
to rest with the calm after being churned by Mandara Mountain. 17 In an instant the battlefield became 
as dreadful as the dismal womb of death, and as deep and dark as the hollow pit of the sea after 
Agastya sucked up its waters. 18 It was covered with the dead bodies of men and beasts and flowed 
with the floods of purpling blood. It resounded with the sounds of insects, like a heath with the 
humming of beetles. 19 Gory bodies gushed with blood and gurgled like sea waves. 

The cries of the wounded wanting to live pierced the ears and throbbed the heart strings of the living. 
20 The dead and wounded rolling around side by side in streams of blood made the living think the 
dead were still alive like themselves. 21 Big elephants lying dead in piles on the field appeared like 
cloud fragments, and the heaps of broken chariots looked like a forest blown over by a storm. 
2 2 Streams of blood flowed with the dead bodies of horses and elephants, and heaps of arrows, 
spears, mattocks and mallets flowed together with broken swords and missiles. 23 Horses were lying 
in their halters and harnesses. Dead soldiers were wrapped in their mail and armor. Flags, fans, 

turbans and helmets lay scattered in the field. 

2 4 The winds rustled by the openings of quivers like the hissing of snakes or the whistling of the 
breeze in the holes of bamboo trees. Flesh eating pisacha demons were rolling on beds of dead 
bodies as if they were beddings of straws. 25 The gold chains from the helmets and head ornaments of 
fallen soldiers glittered with rainbow colors, and greedy dogs and jackals tore at the entrails of the 
dead like long ropes or strings. 

26 The wounded were gnashing their teeth in the field of blood, like the croaking of frogs in a miry 
pool of blood. 27 Those dressed in party-colored coats with a hundred spots now had their arms and 
thighs gushing in a hundred streams of blood. 28 Friends wailed bitterly over the bodies of their dead 
and wounded lying amidst heaps of arrows and weapons, broken cars and scattered trappings of 
horses and elephants that covered the land. 29 Headless trunks of demons danced about with uplifted 
arms touching the sky. The stink of carrion, fat and blood filled nostrils with nausea. 30 Elephants and 
horses of noble breed lay dead or gasping with their mouths gaping upwards, streams of blood 
dashing against their rock-like bodies beat as loudly as drums. 3 1 Blood gushing out of wounded 
horses and elephants ran like that of a wounded whale into a hundred streams. Blood spouting from 
the mouths of dying soldiers flowed into a hundred channels. 

32 Those pierced with arrows in their eyes and mouths uttered an inaudible voice with their last gasp 
of death. Those pierced in their bellies had their bowels gushing out with a horrible stench. The 
ground was reddened with thickened blood issuing out of the wounds. 33 Half-dead elephants grasped 
headless trunks with their trunks, while the loose horses and elephants that had lost their riders were 
trampling over dead bodies at random. 34 The weeping, crying and tottering wives of fallen soldiers 
fell upon their dead bodies weltering in blood, embracing them closely by their necks, then made an 
end of themselves with the same weapons. 

35 Groups of soldiers were sent with guides to fetch dead bodies from the field. The hands of their 
living companions were busily employed dragging the dead. 36 The field had become a wide river 
running with waves of blood breaking into a hundred whirling streams and carrying severed heads 
like lotuses, and the torn braids of hair floating like bushes. 37 Men were busy taking weapons from 
the bodies of the wounded who lamented loudly on account of their dying in a foreign land and losing 
their arms, armor, horses and elephants. 

38 Dying souls remembered their sons and parents, their dear ones and their adored deities. They 
called out their names and sighed and sobbed with heart-rending sounds. 39 The brave who died 
cursed their fates, and those who fell fighting elephants blamed the unkind gods they had adored in 
vain. 40 Cowards fearing to be killed resorted to base flight, but the dauntless brave stepped forward 
into the whirlpools of blood. 41 Some, suffering under the agony of arrows stuck in their mortal parts, 
thought upon the sins of their past lives that had brought such pain upon them. Blood sucking vetala 
ghosts advanced with their horrid mouths to drink blood from headless torsos. 

42 Below, the floating flags, umbrellas and fans looked like white lotuses in a lake of blood, while 
from above, the evening stretched her train of stars like red lotuses in an ethereal sea. 4 3 The 
battlefield looked like an eighth sea of blood. The war chariots were its rocks and their wheels its 

whirlpools. The flags were its foam and froth, and the white fans its bubbles. 44 The field of blood 
with scattered chariots plunged in mud and mire and covered with broken pieces of woods looked 
like a tract of land devastated by a hurricane. 45 It was as desolate as a country burned by a fire, or 
like the dry bed of the sea sucked up by the sage Agastya. It was like a district devastated by a 
sweeping flood. 

46 The battlefield was filled with heaps of weapons as high as the bodies of big elephants lying dead 
about the ground. 47 The lances carried down by streams of blood were as big as the palm trees 
growing on the summits of mountains. 48 Weapons sticking in elephant bodies seemed like shining 
flowers growing on green trees. Their entrails, torn and carried away by vultures, spread a fretted 
network in the sky. 49 Lances stuck in the ground by streams of blood made a woody forest on the 
banks of a red river, and the flags floating on the surface were like a bush of lotuses in the liquid 
blood. 50 Friends pulled dead bodies from the bloody pool in which they drowned, and men marked 
the bodies of big elephants by the jutting weapons sticking in them. 

51 Trunks of trees that had their branches lopped off by the weapons looked like the headless bodies 
of slain soldiers, and the floating carcasses of elephants seemed like so many boats swimming in a 
sea of blood. 52 White garments swept down by the current looked like froth on the pool of blood. 
They were picked up by servants sent to search them out. 

53 The demonic bodies of headless soldiers were rising and falling in the field, hurling large wheels 
and discs upon the flying army on all sides. 54 Dying warriors were frothing forth floods of blood 
from their throats, and stones stained with blood were inviting greedy vultures to devour them. 
55 Then there were groups of sutala, vetala and uttala demons and ghosts dancing about the field with 
their war dances, whirling the broken bits of war-chariots upon the flying soldiers on all sides. 56 The 
stir and last gasp of the dying were fearful to behold, and the faces of the dying and the dead covered 
in dust and blood were pitiful to the beholder. 57 Devouring dogs and ravenous ravens had pity as they 
saw the last gasp of the dying. Carrion feeders were howling and fighting over carcasses until many 
of them became dead bodies from fighting each other. 

5 8 Now I have described the sea of blood that flowed fast with the gore of unnumbered hosts of 
horses, elephants and camels, and of warriors and their leaders, and the multitudes of cars and war 
chariots. But it became a pleasure garden to the god of death, delighting in his bed of bloodshed and 
grove of weapons strewn all around. 

Chapter 39 — The Battlefield Infested by Nocturnal Fiends 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 Now the blood-red sun set down in the west like a hero red with blood. The sun hid his luster, 
which was dimmed by the brightness of the weapons of war in the western main. 2 The sky which had 
reflected the blood-red flush of the field of blood was now dimmed by the setting of the glorious sun 
and darkened by the veil of evening. 3 Thick darkness spread over the face of heaven and earth like 
the waters of the great deluge, and there appeared a body of vetala ghosts, dancing in a ring and 
clapping their hands. 

4 The face of day, smeared with the blackness of nightfall, was painted by the light of evening with 
stars like pearly spots painted on the cheeks of an elephant. 5 The busy buzz of creation became silent 
in the dead darkness of night, like the humming of bees over the surface of the waters, the hearts of 
men were closed in sleep as in death, like the petals of the lotus at night. 6 Birds lay in their nests with 
folded wings and crests, like dead bodies were lying in the field covered with their wounds and 

7 Then fair moonbeams shone above and white lotuses were blown below. The hearts of men were 
gladdened and the victors felt joyous in themselves. 8 The ruddy evening assumed the shape of the 
blood-red sea of battle, and the fluttering bees now hid themselves like the faces of fallen soldiers. 
9 There was an ethereal lake above dotted on high with stars like white lotuses, and here was the 
earthly lake below, beset by lotuses resembling the stars of heaven. 

1 ° Bodies thought to be lost in darkness were now recovered in moonlight like gems hidden under 
water are found scattered about. 1 1 The battlefield was filled with vetala ghosts howling with their 
hideous cries, while bodies of vultures, crows and owls tore at carcasses and sported with skeletons. 

12 Funeral pyres blazed as brightly as the starry frame on high, and the fires consumed dead bodies 
with their bones and clothing. 13 The fire burnt bodies and bones to ashes, after which it extinguished 
itself as if sated with plenty. The female fiends now began to sport in the water. 14 There arose a 
mingled cry of dogs, crows, and yaksha demons and vetalas clapping their hands. Bodies of ghosts, 
thick as woods and forests, were moving about. 15 Dakinis were eager to steal away the flesh and fat 
from the piles of bodies gathered for funeral, and pisachas delighted in sucking the blood, flesh and 
bones of the dead. 16 The demons were now looking and now lurking about the funeral piles, and the 
rakshasa demons that rushed in carried away carcasses on their shoulders. 

1 7 There came also bodies of ferocious kumbhandas and big damaras uttering their barbarous cries 
and hovering in the shapes of clouds over the fumes of fat and flesh. 18 Bodies of vetalas stood in the 
streams of blood like earthly beings and snatched the skeletons with hideous cries. 1 9 Vetala 
younglings slept in the bellies and chests of the elephants, and rakshasas were drinking their fill in the 
bloody field. 2 ° Giddy vetalas fought one another with the lighted faggots from the pyres, and the 
winds blew the stench of the putrid carcasses on all sides. 

2 1 Female fiends (rupikas) filled the baskets of their bellies with carrion with a rat-a-tat noise. 
Yaksha cannibals were snatching half-burnt carcasses from the funeral pyres as their roasted meat and 
dainty food. 22 Aerial imps (khagas) attacked the dead bodies of the big Bangas and black Kalingas, 

and flouted about with their open mouths, emitting the blaze of falling meteors. 23 Vetala ghosts fell 
down in the dark and discolored blood-pits, lying hidden in the midst of heaps of dead bodies, while 
pisacha ogres and the leaders of yogini sprites laughed at them for their false step. 

24 Entrails being pulled vibrated like the strings of musical instruments. The ghosts of men that had 
become fiends from their fiendish desires fell to fighting one another. 2 5 Valiant soldiers were 
frightened at the sight of female fiends (rupikas), and funeral rites were disturbed by the vetala and 
rakshasa demons. 26 The demons of the night (nisacharas) were frightened at the fall of carcasses 
from the shoulders of elves {rupikas) who were carrying them aloft in the air where they were 
waylaid by a throng of ghostly demons (bhuta-sankata) . 2 7 Many dying bodies were lifted with 
difficulty by demons who, when they found the bodies unfit for their food, let them fall down dead on 
the ground. 28 Pieces of blood-red flesh that fell from the fiery jaws of jackals looked like clusters of 
asoka flowers strewn all around the funeral ground. 2 9 Vetala urchins were busy putting scattered 
heads over the headless bodies of Kabandhas, and bodies of yaksha, raksha, and pisacha ogres 
flashed like firebrands in the sky. 

30 At last a thick cloud of darkness covered the face of the sky, and the hills, valleys, gardens and 
groves became hidden under an impenetrable gloom. Infernal spirits were loosened from their dismal 
abodes and ravaged at large over the battlefield like a hurricane under the vault of heaven. 

Chapter 40 — Subtle Body & Astral Travel; Intellectual Body; Details on the Process of Death, 

Conception & Birth 

I Vasishta related: — 

The nocturnal fiends infested the gloomy field, and the attendants of Yama, the Lord of Death, roamed 
about it like marauders in the daytime. 2 Under the canopy of thick darkness, naked and fleeting ghosts 
in their nightly abode reveled on their provisions of carrion that was likely to be taken by the clutches 
of one's hand. 

3 It was in the still hour of this gloomy night, when the host of heaven seemed to be fast asleep, that a 
sadness stole in upon the mind of Leela's magnanimous husband, the warring King Viduratha. 4 He 
thought about what was to be done the next morning in council with his counselors, and then he went 
to his bed which was as white as moonlight and as cold as frost. 5 For a while his lotus-eyes were 
closed in sleep in his royal camp, which was as white as moonbeams and covered by the cold dews 
of night. 

6 Then the two ladies issued forth from their empty abode and entered the tent through a crevice, like 
air penetrates into the heart of an untouched flower bud. 

7 Rama asked, "How is it possible sage, that the gross bodies of the goddesses, with their limited 
dimensions, could enter the tent through one of its holes, as small as the pore of a piece of cloth?" 

8 Vasishta answered saying that: — 

It is impossible for someone who mistakes himself to be a material body to enter a small hole with 
that gross body. 9 But it is possible to go anywhere one pleases if he understands that he is only pent 
up in his physical body like in a cage and obstructed by it in his flight, and if he does not believe that 
he is confined by his material body but has the true notion of his inner subtle spirit. 1 ° He who 
perceives his original spiritual state to be the belter half of his body may pass as a spirit through a 
chink. But whoever relies on the lesser half of the material body cannot go beyond it in the form of his 

II As air rises upward and the flame of fire never goes downward, so the nature of spirit is to rise 
upward, and that of the body to go down, but the intellect is made to turn in the way in which it is 
trained. 12 A man silting in the shade has no notion of feeling heat or warmth, so one man has no idea 
of another man's knowledge or thoughts. 13 As is one's knowledge, so is his thought. Such is the mode 
of his life. It is only by means of ardent practice (of meditation and learning) that the mind is turned to 
the right course. 

14 One's belief of a snake in a rope is removed by knowledge of his error. The habits of the mind and 
conduct in life are changed from wrong to right by the knowledge of truth. 15 It is one's knowledge that 
gives rise to his thoughts, and thoughts direct his pursuits in life. This is a truth known to every man of 
sense, even to the young. 

1 6 Now then, the soul resembles something seen in a dream or formed in fancy. The soul is of the 
nature of air and emptiness and is never obstructed anywhere in its course. 17 There is an intellectual 
and astral body which all living beings possess in every place. It is known as consciousness as well 

as the feelings of our hearts. 18 It is by Divine Will that consciousness rises and sets by turns. At first 
it was produced in its natural, simple and intellectual form and then, being invested with a material 
body, they together make the unity of the person out of the duality of material and immaterial essences. 

19 Now you must know that the triple emptiness composed of the three airy substances — spirit, mind 
and space — are one and the same thing, but not so their receptacle the material body which has no 
ability to flow or extend. 

2 ° Know this intellectual, consciousness body of beings is like the air, present with everything 
everywhere, just like your desire to know extends over all things in all places and presents them all to 
your knowledge. 2 l It abides in the smallest particles, and reaches to the spheres of heavens. It 
reposes in the cells of flowers, and delights in the leaves of trees. 22 It delights in hills and dales, and 
dances over the waves of the oceans. It rides over the clouds, and falls down in the showers of rain 
and hailstones of heaven. 2 3 It moves at pleasure in vast space and penetrates through the solid 
mountains. Its body bears no break in it, and it is as minute as an atom. 

24 Yet it becomes as big as a mountain lifting its head to heaven, and as large as the earth which is the 
fixed and firm support of all things. It views the inside and outside of everything, and bears the forests 
like hairs on its body. 25 It extends in the form of the sky and contains millions of worlds in itself. It 
identifies itself with the ocean, and transforms its whirlpools to spots upon its person. 

26 This intellectual, consciousness body of beings is of the nature of an uninterrupted understanding, 
ever calm and serene in its aspect. It is possessed of its intellectual form from before the creation of 
the visible world, and being all comprehensive as emptiness itself, it understands the natures of all 
beings. 27 It is as unreal as water in a mirage, but by its intelligence, it manifests itself as a reality to 
the understanding. Without this exercise of the intellect, the intellectual man is as nothing as the son of 
a barren woman, and as blank as the figure of a body seen in a dream. 

28 Rama asked, "What is that mind to which you attribute so many powers? What is that which you say 
to be nothing? Why is it no reality and something distinct from all that we see?" 

29 Vasishta replied: — 

All individual minds are provided with these faculties, except those whose minds are engrossed with 
the error of the outer world. 30 All worlds are either of a longer or shorter duration, and they appear 
and disappear at times. Some of these vanish in a moment and others endure to the end of a kalpa age. 
But it is not so with the mind, whose progress I will now relate to you. 

31 There is an unconsciousness which overtakes every man before his death. This is the darkness of 
his dissolution (maha-pralaya-yamini) . 3 2 After the shocks of delirium and death are over, the 
spiritual part of every man is regenerated anew in a different form, as if it was roused from a state of 
trance, reverie or swoon. 33 Just like the spirit of God, for its re-creation after the dissolution of the 
world, assumes his triune form with the persons of Brahma and Virat (the Universal Form), so every 
person after his death receives the triplicate form of his spiritual, intellectual and corporeal being. 

34 Rama said, "As we believe ourselves to be reproduced after death by reason of our memories, so 
must we understand the re-creation of all bodies in the world by the same cause. Hence there is 
nothing uncaused in it." 

35 Vasishta replied: — 

The gods Hari (Vishnu), Hara (Shiva) and others, having obtained their disembodied liberation 
(videha-mukti) at the universal dissolution, could not retain their memory to cause their regeneration. 

36 But human beings, having both spiritual and intellectual bodies entire at their death, do not lose 
their memory of the past, nor can they have final liberation like Brahma unless they obtain their 
disembodied state, which is possible to all in this life or hereafter only by the edification of their 
souls through yoga meditation. 37 Birth and death of all other beings like yourself are caused by their 
memory and because they lack disembodied liberation and eternal salvation. 38 The individual soul, 
after its pangs of death are over, retains its consciousness within itself, but remains in its state of 
unconsciousness by virtue of its own nature. 

39 The universal emptiness is called nature (prakriti). It is the reflection of the invisible Divine 
Consciousness (chit prativimbam) and it is the parent of all that is dull or moving (Jada-jada) which 
are produced by their reminiscence or its absence (sansmriti and asmriti); the former causing the 
regeneration of living beings, and the latter its cessation as in inert matter. 40 As the living principle 
or animal life begins to have its understanding (bodha), it is called an intelligent being (mahat) which 
is possessed of its consciousness (ahankara). It has added to it the organs of perception and 
conception, all from their elements (tanmatras) residing in the empty ether. 

41 Next this minutely intelligent substance is joined with the five internal senses that form its body and 
which is otherwise called its spiritual or ethereal body (ativahika or lingadeha; the astral or subtle 
body). 42 This spiritual being, by its long association with the external senses, comes to believe it has 
ordinary senses, so it finds itself invested with a material body (adhibhautika deha) as beautiful as 
that of a lotus. 43 Then seated in the embryo, it rests in a certain position for sometime, and then 
inflates itself like the air until it is fully expanded. 

44 Then it thinks itself to be fully developed in the womb, like a man dreams of a fairy form in his 
sleep and believes this illusion as a reality. 45 Then he views the outer world where he is born to die, 
just like one visits a land where he is destined to meet his death, and there he remains to relish its 
enjoyments, as prepared for him. 

46 But the spiritual man soon perceives everything as pure emptiness, and that his own body and this 
world are only illusions and vain nothings. 47 He perceives the gods, human dwellings, the hills, and 
the heavens resplendent with sun and stars to be nothing more than homes of disease, debility, decay 
and ultimate death and destruction. 48 He sees nothing but a sad change in the natures of things, and 
that all that is living or inert, great or small, together with the seas, hills, rivers and peoples of this 
earth, and the days and nights, are all subject to decay sooner or later. 

49 The knowledge that I am born here of this father and that this is my mother, these are my treasures 
and such are my hopes and expectations, is as false as empty air. 50 That these are my merits and these 
my demerits, and these the desires that I had at heart, that I was a boy and am now young, are the airy 
thoughts of the hollow mind. 

51 This world resembles a forest where every being is like a detached tree. The dark clouds are its 
leaves and the stars its full blown flowers. 52 Walking men are its restless deer and the aerial gods 

and demons its birds of the air. Broad daylight is the flying dust of its flowers and the dark night the 
deep hiding place of its grove. 53 The seas are like its streams and fountains and the eight boundary 
mountains are its artificial hills. The mind is its great water reservoir containing the weeds and 
shrubs of human thoughts in abundance. 

5 4 Wherever a man dies, he is instantly changed to this state, and he views the same things 
everywhere. Thus everyone rises and falls constantly, like the leaves of trees in this forest of the 
world. 55 Millions of Brahmas, Rudras, Indras, Maruts, Vishnus and suns, together with unnumbered 
mountains, seas, continents and islands have appeared and disappeared in the eternal course of the 
world. 56 No one can count the numbers of beings that have passed away, are passing, and shall have 
to pass hereafter, or those who are in existence and have to become extinct in the unfathomable 
eternity of Brahman. 

57 Therefore it is impossible to comprehend the stupendous fabric of the universe in anyway except in 
the mind, which is as spacious as infinite space itself, and is as variable as the course of events in the 
world. 58 The mind is the empty sphere of consciousness, and the infinite sphere of consciousness is 
the seat of the Supreme. 

59 Now, know the whirlpools and waves of the sea are of the same element as the sea in which they 
rise and fall even though, in their impermanence, they are not of the same durable nature as seawater. 
So the phenomenon is the same as its conception, though none is a reality. 60 The ethereal sphere of 
heaven is only a reflection of the intellectual sphere of the Divine Mind, and the bright orbs of the sky 
are like gems in the bosom of Brahman. Its vault is the cave of the mind of the Eternal One. 

61 The world according to the sense in which I take it, as the seat of God, is highly interesting, but not 
so in your sense of it being a sober reality. So the meaning of the words "I" and "you" according to 
me refers to the intellectual spirit, and according to you to the individual soul and body. 

62 Hence Leela and Saraswati, being in their empty astral bodies, were led by the pure desire of their 
souls to every place without any obstruction or interruption. 63 The spirit of consciousness has the 
power to present itself wherever it likes, on earth or in the sky, and before objects known or unknown 
and wished to be known by it. It was by this power that they could enter into the tent of the prince. 

64 Consciousness has its way to all places and things, and over which it exercises its powers of 
observation, reflection and reasoning to their full extent. This is known as the spiritual and unconflned 
body (ativahika, the subtle body, astral body, mind body) whose course cannot be obstructed by any 
restriction whatever. 

Chapter 41 — Lee la & Saras wati enter King Viduratha's Tent; He Remembers His Past Lives; 
Everything Is within the Temple of the Mountain Brahmin; Discrimination of Error 

I Vasishta said: — 

When the ladies entered the tent, it appeared like a bed of lotuses. Its white ceiling seemed as 
graceful as the vault of heaven with two moons rising at once under it. 2 A pure and cooling fragrance 
spread about it, as if blown by the breeze from mandara flowers, and lulled the prince to sleep. 
Everyone was lying in their camps. 3 It made the place as pleasant as the celestial pleasure garden of 
Nandana and healed all the pains and cares of the people there. It seemed like a spring garden filled 
with the fragrance of the fresh blown lotuses in the morning. 

4 The cooling and moon-bright radiance of the ladies roused the king from his sleep as if he had been 
sprinkled with the juice of ambrosia. 5 He saw the forms of two apsaras sitting on two stools, 
appearing like two moons risen on two peaks of Mount Mem. 6 The king saw them with wonder and 
after composing his mind, he rose up from his bed like God Vishnu rises from his bed of the serpent. 

7 Then advancing respectfully to them, with long strings of flowers in his hands, he made offerings of 
them to the ladies with handfuls of flowers flung at their feet. 

8 Leaving his pillowed sofa in the midst of the hall, he sat with folded legs on the ground. Lowly 
bending his head, he addressed them saying, 9 "Be victorious, O moon-bright goddesses who by your 
radiance drive away all the miseries and evils and pains and pangs of life, and who by your sun-like 
beams dispel all my inward and outward darkness." 10 Saying so he poured handfuls of flowers on 
their feet, as trees on the banks of a lake drop down their flowers on the lotuses growing in it. 

II Then the goddess, desiring to reveal the ancestry of the king, inspired his minister, who was lying 
nearby, to relate it to Leela. 12 Upon waking, the minister saw the nymphs manifested before him, and 
advancing humbly before them, threw handfuls of flowers upon their feet. 13 The goddess said, "Let us 
know, O king, who you are and when and of whom you are born." 

Hearing these words of the goddess, the minister spoke saying, 14 "It is by your favor, O gracious 
goddesses, that I am empowered to relate of my king's ancestry to your kind graces." 

1 5 "There was a sovereign born of the imperial line of Ikshvaku named Mukundaratha, who had 
subjugated the earth under his arms. 16 He had a moon- faced son by name of Bhadraratha, whose son 
Viswaratha was father to the renowned prince Brihadratha. 17 His son Sindhuratha was the father of 
Sailaratha, and his son Kamaratha was father of Maharatha. 1 8 His son Vishnuratha was father of 
Nabhoratha, who gave birth to this my lord of handsome appearance." 

1 9 "He is renowned as Viduratha and is born with the great virtues of his sire, as the moon was 
produced of the Milky Ocean to shed his ambrosial beams over his people. 20 He was begotten by his 
mother Sumitra like the god Guha of Gauri. He was installed king of the realm in the tenth year of his 
age, owing to his father taking himself to asceticism 21 He has been ruling the realm with justice since 
that time, and your appearance here tonight indicates the blossoming of his good fortune." 

22 "O goddesses, whose presence is hard to be had, even by the merit of long devotion and a hundred 
austerities, you see here present before you the lord of the earth, famed Viduratha. 23 He is highly 

blessed today by your favor." After saying these words, the minister remained silent with the lord of 
the earth. 

2 4 They were sitting on the ground with folded legs, clasped hands and downcast looks when the 
goddess of wisdom, by her inspiration, told the king to remember his former births. 25 So saying, she 
touched his head with her hand and immediately the dark veil of illusion and oblivion was dispersed 
from over the lotus of his mind. 26 It opened like a blossom by the touch of the genius of consciousness 
and it became bright as the clear sky with the rays of his former memories. 27 By his intelligence, he 
remembered his former kingdom, of which he had been the sole lord, and recollected all his past play 
with Leela. 28 He was carried away by the thoughts of the events of his past lives, as one is carried 
away by the current of waves, and reflected in himself that this world is a magic sea of illusion. 

29 He said, "I have come to know this by the favor of the goddesses, but how is it that so many events 
have occurred to me in course of one day after my death? 30 Here I have passed a lifetime Ml of 
seventy years and remember having done many works and having seen my grandson. 31 1 recollect the 
bygone days of my boyhood and youth, and I remember well all the friends and relatives and all the 
clothes and attendants that I had before." 

32 The goddess replied: — 

Know O king that after the fit of unconsciousness attending your death was over, your soul continued 
to remain in the emptiness of the same place where you still reside. 33 This royal pavilion, where you 
think yourself living, is situated in the empty space within the house of the brahmin in that hilly 
district. 34 It is inside that house that you see the appearances of your other homes present before you, 
and it was in that brahmin's house that you devoted your life to my worship. 35 It is the shrine within 
that same house and on the same spot that contains the whole world which you are now seeing all 
about you. 36 This abode of yours is situated in that same place and within the clear firmament of your 

37 It is a false notion of your mind, which you have gained by your habitual mode of thinking, that you 
are born in your present state of the race of Ikshvaku. 38 Mere imagination has made you suppose 
yourself to be named so and so, and that such and such persons were your ancestors; that you had been 
a boy often years; 39 that your father became an ascetic in the woods and left you governing the realm; 
that you have subjugated many countries under your dominion and are now reigning as the lord 
paramount over them; 40 and that you are ruling on earth with these ministers and officers of yours, 
observing sacrificial rites and justly ruling your subjects. 

4 1 You think that you have passed seventy years of your life and that you are now beset by very 
formidable enemies, 42 and that having waged a furious battle, you have returned to this tent of yours 
where you are now seated and intend to adore the goddesses who have become your guests here. 
43 You are thinking that these goddesses will bless you with your desired object, because one of them 
has given you the power of recollecting the events of your former births; 44 that these goddesses have 
opened your understanding like the blossom of a lotus, and that you have the prospect of getting rid of 
all questions; 45 that you are now at peace and rest, and enjoy the solace of your solitude; and that 
your long continued error (of this world) is now removed forever. 

46 You remember the many acts and pleasures of your past life in the body of King Padma before you 
were snatched away by the hand of death. 47 You now perceive in your mind that your present life is 
only a shadow of the former, as it is the same wave that by its rise and fall carries one onward. 48 The 
constant current of the mind flows like a river and leads a man, like a weed, from one whirlpool to 
another. 49 The course of life now runs alone as in dreaming, and then accompanied by the body as in 
the waking state, both of which leave their traces in the mind at the hour of death. 

50 The sun of consciousness being hidden under the mist of ignorance, there arises a network of a false 
world which makes a moment appear like a hundred years. 51 Our lives and deaths are mere phantoms 
of imagination, just like we imagine houses and towers in aerial castles and icebergs. 52 The world is 
an illusion, like the delusion of moving banks and trees to a passenger in a vessel on water, or a rapid 
vehicle on land, or like the trembling of a mountain or quaking of the earth to one affected by a 
convulsive disease. 53 As one sees extraordinary things in his dream, such as the decapitation of his 
own head, so he views the illusions of the world that can hardly be true. 

54 In reality you were neither born nor dead at anytime or any place, but ever remain as pure 
consciousness in the tranquility of your own soul. 55 You seem to see all things about you, but you are 
seeing nothing real in them. Your all-seeing soul sees everything in itself. 56 The soul shines by its 
own light like a brilliant gem Nothing that appears beside it, whether this earth or yourself or 
anything else, is a reality. 

57 These hills and cities, these people and things, and ourselves also, are all unreal and mere 
phantoms, appearing in the hollow vault of the brahmin of the hilly district. 58 The kingdom of Leela's 
husband was only a picture of this earth, and his palace with all its grandeur is contained within the 
sphere of the same hollow shrine. 59 The known world is contained within the empty sphere of that 
shrine, and it is in one corner of this mundane house that all of us here are situated. 

60 The sphere of this vaulted shrine is as clear as emptiness itself, which has no earth or house in it. 

61 It is without any forest, hill, sea or river, and yet all beings are found to rove about in this empty 
and homeless abode. 62 Here there are no kings, no royal retinue, and nothing else that kings have on 

Viduratha asked, "If it is so, then tell me goddess, how did I happen to have these dependants here? 
63 A man is rich in his own mind and spirit. Is it not so ordained by Divine Mind and spirit? If not, 
then the world must appear as a mere dream, and all these men and things are only creatures of our 
dreams. 64 Tell me goddess, what things are spiritually true and false? How are we to distinguish the 
one from the other?" 

65 Saraswati answered: — 

Know prince that those who have known the only knowable One and are assimilated in the nature of 
pure understanding view nothing as real in the world except the empty consciousness within 
themselves. 66 The misconception of the serpent in a rope being removed, the fallacy of the rope is 
removed also. The unreality of the world being known, the error of its existence also ceases to exist. 
67 Knowing the falsity of water in a mirage, no one thirsts after it anymore. Knowing the falsehood of 
dreams, no one thinks himself dead as he had dreamt. The fear of dreaming death may overtake the 

dying, but it can never assail the living in his dream. 

68 He whose soul is enlightened with the clear light of his pure consciousness is never misled into 
believing his own existence, or that of others, by the false application of the terms "I", "you", "this" 
or the like. 

Valmiki speaking: — 

69 As the sage was lecturing in this manner, the day departed to its evening service with the setting 
sun. The assembly broke with mutual greetings to perform their evening rituals, and it met again with 
the rising sun, after dispersion of the gloom of night. 

Chapter 42 — Philosophy of Dreaming (Swapnam); Creation Is a Dream; Viduratha Asks a 

Boon to Be Reunited with His (Second) Queen Leela 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 The man who is devoid of understanding, ignorant and unacquainted with the all-pervading 
principle, thinks the unreal world as real, dense and concrete. 2 Just like a child is not freed from his 
fear of ghosts until his death, so the ignorant man never gets rid of his fallacy of the reality of the 
unreal world as long as he lives. 3 Just like solar heat causes the error of water in the mirage to both 
deer and unwary people, so the unreal world appears as real to the ignorant part of mankind. 4 As the 
false dream of one's death appears to be true within the dreaming state, so the false world seems to 
be a field of action and gain to the deluded man. 5 Just like one, not knowing what is gold, sees a 
golden bracelet to be a mere bracelet and not gold, so the ignorant, without a knowledge of the causal 
substance, are ever misled by the appearances of form. 

6 The ignorant see a city, a house, a hill and an elephant as they are presented before them, so 
appearances are all taken only as they are seen, and not what they really are. 7 As strings of pearls are 
seen in the sunny sky, and various paints and taints in the plumage of the peacock, so the phenomenal 
world presents its false appearances as sober realities. 8 Know life to be a long sleep, and the world 
with myself and yourself are the visions of its dream. We see many other persons in this sleepy 
dream None is real, as you will now learn from me. 

9 There is only one all-pervading, quiet, and spiritually substantial reality. It is of the form of 
unintelligible consciousness and an immense outspreading emptiness. 10 It is omnipotent, and all in all 
by itself. It is of the form manifesting itself everywhere. 1 1 Hence the citizens that you see in this 
visionary city are only transient forms of men presented in your dream by that Omnipotent Being. 

12 The mind of the viewer remains the same in the sphere of his dreams and represents images thought 
of by itself in that visionary sphere of mankind. 1 3 The knowing mind has the same knowledge of 
things, both in its waking and dreaming states, and it is by an act of the perceiving mind that this 
knowledge is imprinted as true in the conscious souls of men. 

14 Rama said, "If persons seen in the dream are unreal, then tell me sage, what is the fault in the 
embodied soul that makes them appear as realities?" 

15 Vasishta replied: — 

The cities and houses seen in dreams are nothing in reality. The illusion {may a) of the embodied soul 
makes them appear as true like those seen in the waking state in this ordinary world. 16 1 will give you 
proof of this. In the beginning of creation and by the will of the creator, the self-born Brahma himself 
had notions of all created things in the form of visionary appearances, like in a dream, and their 
subsequent development. Therefore, their creator is as unreal as the notions and appearances in the 

1 7 Learn this truth from me, that this world is a dream and that you and all other men have your 
sleeping dreams contained in your waking dreams of this ordinary world. 1 8 If the scenes in your 
sleeping dream have no reality in them, how can you expect those in your daydreams to be real at all? 

19 As you take me for a reality, so do I also take you and all other things for realities likewise, and 
such is the case with everybody in this world of dreams. 20 As I appear an entity to you in this 
ordinary world of lengthened dreams, so you too appear an actual entity to me. So it is with all in 
their protracted dreaming. 

21 Rama asked, "If both these states of dreaming are alike, then tell me. When the dreamer awakens, 
why doesn't he think the visions in his dream were as real as those of his daydreaming state?" 

22 Vasishta replied: — 

Yes, night dreaming is of the same nature as daydreams in that dream objects appear to be real in 
both. Upon a man's awakening from sleep, the night dreams vanish in empty air. Upon a man's death, 
his daydreams vanish in empty air. 23 As the objects of your night dreams do not exist in time or place 
upon your waking, so also those of your daydream can have no existence upon death. 2 4 Thus 
everything that appears real for the present is unreal, and though it might appear as charming as a fairy 
form in a dream, at last it all disappears into an airy nothing. 

25 There is one Consciousness that fills all space. It appears as everything both within and without 
everybody. It is only by our illusive conception of it that we take it in different lights. 26 As one picks 
up a jewel he happens to see in a treasure house, so according to our own liking, we lay hold on 
anything with which the vast Consciousness is filled. 

27 The goddess of intelligence, having caused the germ of true knowledge to sprout forth in the mind of 
the king by sprinkling the ambrosial drops of her wisdom over it, spoke to the king in this way at the 
end, 28 "I have told you all this for the sake of Leela, and now, good king, we shall take leave of you 
and these illusory scenes of the world." 

29 Vasishta said: — 

The intelligent king, being gently addressed by the goddess of wisdom, asked her in a humble tone. 

30 Viduratha said, "Your visit, O most bounteous goddess, cannot go for nothing, if when we poor 
mortals cannot withhold our bounty from those who petition us for help. 31 1 will quit this body to go 
to another world, as one passes from one chain of dreams into another. 3 2 Look upon me, your 
petitioner, with kindness and grant me the favor I ask of you, because the great never refuse to grant 
the prayers of their suppliants. 33 Grant that this virgin daughter of my minister may accompany me to 
the region where I shall be led so that we may have spiritual joy in each other's company hereafter." 

34 Saraswati said, "Go now, king, to the former palace of your past life and there reign without fear in 
the enjoyment of true pleasure. Know king that our visits never fail to fulfill the best wishes of our 

Chapter 43 — The City Burning 

1 The goddess added, "Know further, O king, that you are destined to fall in this great battle and that 
will have your former realm presented to you in the same manner as before. 2 Your minister and his 
maiden daughter will accompany you to your former city and you shall enter your lifeless corpse lying 
in state in the palace. 3 We shall fly there like the wind before you, and you will follow us 
accompanied by the minister and his virgin daughter like one returning to his native country. 4 Your 
way there will be as slow or swift as those of horses, elephants, asses, or camels, but our course is 
quite different from any of these." 

Vasishta speaking: — 

5 As the king and the goddess were going on with this sweet conversation, a man on horseback arrived 
before them in great hurry and confusion. 6 He said, "Lord! I come to tell that the enemy is showering 
darts and discs, swords and clubs upon us like rain, and they have been pressing upon us like a flood 
on all sides. 7 They have been raining their heavy weapons upon us at pleasure, like the impetuous 
gusts of a hurricane hurls down fragments of rocks from the heads of high hills. 8 There they have set 
fire to our fortress-like city and fires are burning on all sides like a wildfire. It is burning and 
engulfing houses with a hideous noise. 9 The smoke, rising like heaving hills, have covered the skies 
like a flood of clouds, and the flames of the fire leaping high resemble a garuda bird flying in the 

10 Vasishta said: — 

As the royal marshal was delivering this unpleasant intelligence with trepidation, there arose a loud 
cry from outside that filled the sky with its uproar: n the twanging of bow strings drawn to the ears, 
the rustling of flying arrows flung with full force; the loud roaring of furious elephants, and the shrieks 
of frightened ones; 12 gorgeous elephants bursting into the city with a clattering sound; and the high 
loud shouts of citizens, whose houses have burnt to the ground; 1 3 the falling and flying of burnt 
embers with a crackling noise; and the burning of raging fire with a hoarse sound. 14 A11 these were 
heard and seen by the goddesses and the king and his minister from an opening of the tent. The city 
was ablaze in the darkness of the night. 

15 It was as like the conflagration or fiery ocean of the last day. The city was covered by clouds of the 
enemy army, with their flashing weapons waving on all sides. 16 The flames rose as high as the sky, 
and the all dissolving fire of destruction melted buildings as big as hills. 17 Bodies of thick clouds 
roared on high and threatened the people, like the clamor of stout robber gangs gathered for plunder 
and booty. 18 The heavens were hidden under clouds of smoke rolling like the shades of Pushkara and 
Avarta coulds at the end of the world, and the flames of fire flashed like the golden peaks of Mem. 

19 Burning cinders and sparks of fire glittered in the sky like meteors and stars, and the blazing houses 
and towers glared like burning mountains. 

20 Groups of soldiers were attacked by the spreading flames that trapped half-burnt citizens (with 
their bitter cries) between clouds of fire and their fear of the enemy outside. 21 Sleets of arrow-like 
sparks flew in the air on all sides, and showers of burning missiles fell everywhere, burning and 
piercing people in large numbers. 

22 The greatest and most expert champions fought but were crushed under the feet of elephants. Streets 
were heaped with treasures wrested from looters in their retreat. 23 Men and women wailed at the 
falling of fire-brands upon them, and the splitting of splinters and the slitting of timbers emitted a 
crack-crack noise all around. 24 Big blocks of burning wood were blown up, blazing in the air like 
burning suns, and heaps of embers filled the face of the earth with living fire. 25 The air echoed with 
the cracking of combustible wood and the bursting of burning bamboo, the cries of parched animals 
and the howling of soldiers. 

26 The flaming fire was quenched after consuming the royal city to ashes, and the devouring flames 
ceased after they had reduced everything to cinders. 27 The sudden outbreak of fire was like burglars 
breaking in to a house and upon its sleeping inhabitants. It made prey of everything that fell in its way. 

28 At this moment King Viduratha heard a voice from his soldiers who saw wives fleeing from the 
scorching flames. 29 "O, the high winds that have blown flames to the tops of our houses with their 
rustling sound and that have hindered our taking shelter under cooling protection. 30 Sorrow for the 
burning of our wives, who (by pacifying the smart of every pain) were as cold as frost to our bodies 
before, and whose ashes now rest in our breasts like the lime from burnt shells. 3 1 O! the mighty 
power of fire that has burned the hair of our fair maidens like blades of grass or straw. 3 2 Curling 
smoke is ascending on high, like a whirling and long meandering river in the air, and black and white 
fumes of fire resemble the dark stream of Yamuna in one place, and the milky path of the ethereal 
Ganga in another. 3 3 Streams of smoke bearing the sparks on high dazzle the sight of heavenly 
charioteers with their bubbling sparks. 3 4 Our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, relations and 
suckling babes are all burnt alive in the black and blue flames. Here are we burning with grief for 
them in these houses that have been spared by the devouring fire. 35 See, there the howling fire is fast 
advancing to those houses, and here the cinders are falling as thick as the frost of Mount Mem. 
36 Behold the dire darts and missiles dropping down like driving rain, breaking windows like bodies 
of gnats in the shade of evening." 

3 7 "Flashing spears and fire flaring above the watery ocean of the sky resemble an undersea fire 
ascending to heaven. 38 Smoke is rising in clouds, and flames are tapering in the form of towers, and 
all that was humid and green is sucked and dried up like the hearts of the dispassionate. 39 Trees are 
broken down by the raging fire, like posts by enraged elephants. They are falling with a cracking 
noise as if they were screaming at their own fall. 40 Trees in the orchards, now flourishing in their 
luxury of fruits and flowers, are left bare by the burning fire, like householders bereft of their 
properties. 41 Children abandoned by their parents in the darkness of the night, fleeing through the 
streets, are either being pierced by flying arrows or crushed under falling houses. 42 Elephants posted 
at the front of the army were frightened by the flying embers driven by the winds, and fled with loud 
screaming at the fall of the burning houses upon them. 43 O, the pain of being put to the sword is no 
more terrible than being burned by fire, or smashed under the stones of a thundering engine. 44 Streets 
are filled with domestic animals and cattle of all kinds, let loose from their folds and stalls to raise 
their commingled cries in the blocked streets like the confused noise of battle." 

45 "Weeping women passed like lotus flowers on land, with their lotus-like faces, feet and palms. 
Drops of tears fell upon the ground like fluttering bees from their lotus-shaped eyes and wet apparel. 

46 The red taints and spots of the hair-clusters upon their foreheads and cheeks burned like Asoka 
flowers. 47 Alas, for pity that the furious flame of fire, like a ruthless victor who delights in acts of 
inhumanity, should singe the black lined, bee-like eyelids of our deer-eyed fairies. 48 O, the bond of 
marriage love that the faithful wife never fails to follow her burning lord, and cremates herself in the 
same flame with him" 

49 "The elephant, burned on his trunk from breaking the burning post to which he was tied by the leg, 
ran violently to a lake of lotuses, in which he fell dead. 50 The flames of fire, flashing like flitting 
lightning amidst clouds of smoke, darted burning coals like bolts of thunder in showers. 51 Lord! The 
sparks of fire against the dusky clouds appeared like glittering gems in the bosom of the airy ocean, 
and seem by their twirling to gird the crown of heaven with the girdle of the Pleiades. 52 The sky was 
reddened by the light of flaming fires and appeared like the courtyard of Death dyed with purple 
colors injoy for reception of the souls of the dead." 

53 "Alas the day and want of manners that royal dames are forcibly carried away by these armed 
ruffians. 54 See them dragged from their stately building and in the streets, strewing their paths with 
wreaths of flowers torn from their necks while their half burnt locks are hanging loosely upon their 
bare breasts; 55 their loose clothing uncovering their backs and loins, and jewelry dropped from their 
wrists are strewn on the ground. 56 Their necklaces are torn and their pearls scattered about. Their 
bodies are bared of their bodices, and their golden colored breasts appear to view. 57 Their shrill 
cries and groans, rising above the war cry, choke their breath and split their sides. They fall 
unconscious, eyes dimmed by ceaseless floods of tears. 58 They fell in a body with their arms twisted 
about each other's necks, the ends of their cloths tied to each other's. In this way they are forcibly 
dragged ruffians, their bodies mangled in blood. 59 'Ah! who will save them from this state?' cried the 
royal soldiers with piteous looks on the sad plight of the women and shedding big drops of tears like 

60 The bright face of the sky turned black at the horrible sight, and it looked with its blue lotus-like 
eyes of clouds on the fair lotus-like maidens thus scattered on the ground. 61 Thus, like these ladies, 
the goddess of royal prosperity, decorated as she was with her waving and pendant locks, her flowing 
garments, flowery garlands and ornamental jewelry, was brought to her end after her enjoyment of the 
pleasures of royalty and gratification of all her desires. 

Chapter 44 — Enlightened Leela Sees Viduratha's Queen Leela; Habits of the Mind Reproduce 

the Same Images 

1 Vasishta said: — 

At this instant the great queen, who was in the bloom of youthful beauty, entered Viduratha's camp 
like the goddess of grace pops upon the lotus flower. 2 She was decorated with hanging wreaths of 
flowers and necklaces, and accompanied by a train of her youthful companions and handmaids, all 
terrified with fear. 3 With her face as bright as the moon and her form as fair as the lily, she appeared 
like a star of heaven, her teeth shining like sets of stars and her bosom throbbing with fear. 

4 Then one of her companions informed the king about the fate of the warfare, which resembled the 
onset of demons upon the apsara tribe. 5 "Lord!" she said, "This lady has fled with us from her harem 
to take refuge under your arms, like a tender vine seeks the shelter of a tree from a rude gust of wind. 
6 See the ravishers ravishing the wives of citizens with their uplifted arms, like the swelling waves of 
the sea in their rapid current carrying away the tree groves from the bank. 7 The guards of the royal 
harem are all crushed to death by the haughty marauders, as the sturdy trees of the forest are broken 
down by the furious tornado. 8 Our armies, frightened by the enemy from afar, dare not approach the 
falling city, as nobody ventures to rescue lotus beds from a flood under the threatening thunders of a 
rainy night. 9 Hostile forces have poured into the city in terrible numbers and, having set it on fire, are 
shouting loudly under the clouds of smoke, their weapons brandished on all sides. 10 Handsome ladies 
are dragged by the hair from their families like screaming cranes caught and carried away by cruel 
fowlers and fishermen. 1 1 Now we have brought this luxurious tender creeper to you so that your 
might may save her from similar fate." 

12 Hearing this, he looked at the goddesses and said, "Now, I will go from here to war and leave this 
my lady as a humble bee at your lotus feet." 13 Saying so, the king rose in a rage from his seat and 
sprang like an enraged lion when pierced and pressed by the tusk of a furious elephant. 

14 The widowed Leela saw the queen Leela to be exactly of her form and features, and took her for a 
true reflection of herself in a mirror. 1 5 Then the enlightened Leela said to Saraswati, "Tell me, O 
goddess, how can this lady be exactly like myself? She is what I have been before. How did she come 
to be like me?" 

16 "I see this prime minister with all these soldiers and citizens, these forces and vehicles, all to be 
the same as mine, and situated in the same place and manner as before. 17 How is it then, O goddess, 
that they came to be placed in this place? I see them as images placed within and outside the mirror of 
my mind, and know not whether these are living beings (or my imagination)." 

18 Saraswati replied: — 

All our external perceptions of things are the immediate effects of our internal conceptions of them. 
The intellect has the knowledge of all that can be perceived in it, just like the mind has the 
impressions of mental objects in itself. 19 The external world appears in an instant in the same form 
and manner to one who has its notion and impression in his intellect and mind, and no distance of time 
or place or any intermediate cause can create any difference in them 20 The inner world is seen on the 
outside, like the internal impressions of our minds appear to be seen outside us in our dreams. 

Whatever is within, the same appears without, as with our dreams and desires and in all our 
imaginations and fancies of objects. 

21 It is the constant habit of your mind that presents these things as realities to your sight. You saw 
your husband in the same state in which you thought he was when he died in that city of yours. 22 It is 
the same place where he now exists. Even now he is presented with the same objects of his thought as 
he had at that moment. Anything that appears to be different in this state comes from the turn of his 
mind of thinking it so before. 23 All that appears real to him is the creation of his fancy and is as 
unreal as his dream or desire; for everything appears to be the same as it is thought of in the mind. 

24 Say therefore, what truth can there be in these envisioned objects which are unsubstantial as dreams 
and in the end vanish into airy nothing? 25 Then know that everything is no better than nothing and, like 
a dream, proves to be nothing upon waking. Waking is also a dream and equally nothing at death. 

26 Death in lifetime is a non-existence and life in death becomes null and extinct. These extinctions of 
life and death proceed from the fluctuating nature of our notions of them. 

27 So there is neither any entity nor a non-entity either. Both appear to us by turns as fallacies. For 
what after an kalpa aeon neither was nor will be cannot exist today or in any epoch (yuga), whether 
gone before or coming afterwards. 28 That which is never non-existent is the ever existent Brahman, 
and That is the world. It is in Him that we see everything rise and fall by our fallacy, and what we 
falsely term as the creation or the created. 

29 As phantoms appear in the emptiness, are all vacant and void, and as the waves of the sea are 
nothing but its water so do these created things exist and appear in Brahman only. 30 As the minutiae 
appearing in the air vanish in the air, and as the dust driven by the winds is lost in the winds, so the 
false notions of yourself and myself are lost in that Supreme Self in which all things rise and fall like 
waves of the ocean. 

31 What reliance can there be in this dust of creation which is no more than the water of the mirage? 
When everything is united in that sole Unity, the knowledge of individualities is mere fallacy. 32 We 
see apparitions in the dark, though the darkness itself is no apparition. Our lives and deaths are the 
false notions of our error, and the entirely of existence is equally the production of gross error 
(maya). 33 All this is Himself, for He is the great kalpa or will that produces everything. It is He who 
exists when all things are extinct in Him. Therefore these appearances are neither real nor unreal of 

34 But to say both real and unreal are Brahman is a contradiction. Therefore it is He who fills the 
infinity of space and abides equally in all things and their minutest particles. 35 Wherever the spirit of 
Brahman abides, and even in the most minute living particle, It views the whole world in Itself, like 
one thinking on heat and cold of fire and frost has the same sensation within himself at that moment. 
36 So does the pure Consciousness perceive the Holy Spirit of God within itself, just like one sees 
particles of light flying in his closet at sunrise. 3 7 So these multitudes of worlds move about like 
particles in the infinite space of the Divine Mind, as the particles of odorous substances oscillate in 
empty air. 38 In this way this world abides in its incorporeal state in the mind of God, with all its 
modifications of existence and nonexistence, emanation and absorption, its condensation into dense 
and diffusion into subtle, and its movement and rest. 

39 But you must know all these modes and conditions of being belong only to material and not to the 
spirit, which is unconditioned and indivisible. 40 There is no change or division of one's own soul, so 
there is no partition or variation of the Supreme Spirit. It is according to ideas in our minds that we 
see things in their different aspects before us. 

41 Yet the word "world" ( vishva) is not a meaningless term. It means the all as contained in Brahman. 
Therefore it is both real and unreal at the same time, like the fallacy of a snake in a rope. 42 It is the 
false notion (of the snake) that makes the true (rope) appear like the untrue snake to us, which we are 
apt to take for the true snake itself. So in the same way we make the mistake of taking Divine 
Consciousness, which is the prime cause of all, to be an individual soul. 43 It is this notion (of the 
individual soul) that makes us think of ourselves as living beings which, whether it be false or true, is 
like the appearance of the world in empty air. 

44 Thus these little animals delight themselves with their own misconceived idea of being living 
beings, while there are others who think themselves so by their preconceived notions as such. 
4 5 There are some who have no preconceived notions, and others who retain the same as or a 
somewhat different notion of themselves than before. Somewhere inborn notions predominate, and 
sometimes they are entirely lost. 46 Our preconceived notions of ourselves represent unrealities as 
realities to our minds, and present the thoughts of our former family and birth and the same 
occupations and professions before us. 

47 Such are the representations of your former ministers and citizens, imprinted as realities in your 
soul, together with the exact time and place and manner of their functions, as before. 48 Because the 
consciousness of all things is present in the omniscient spirit of God, so the idea of royally is inherent 
in the soul of the king. 49 This notion of his goes before him like his shadow in the air, with the same 
stature and features and the same acts and movements as he had before. 

50 In this manner, Leela, know this world is only a shadowy reflection of the eternal ideas of God, and 
that this reflection is caught by or refracted in the consciousness of all animal souls like in a prismatic 
mirror. 5 1 Everything shows itself in every place in the form in which it is. So whatever is in the 
individual soul casts out a reflection of itself, and a shadow of it is caught by the intellect that is 
situated outside it. 

52 Here is the sky containing the world in which you and I and this prince are situated like reflections 
of the One Ego only. Know all these are contained within the empty womb of Consciousness and 
remain as tranquil and transparent as emptiness itself. 

Chapter 45 — The Second Leela Gets a Boon the First Didn't: How We Seek Is How We 


1 Saraswati continued: — 

Know Leela, that this Viduratha, your husband, will lose his life in this battlefield and his soul will 
return to the tomb in the inner apartment where it will resume its former state. 

Vasishta: — 

2 Upon hearing these words of the goddess, the second Leela, who was standing by, bent herself lowly 
before the goddess and addressed her with her folded palms. 3 The second Leela said, "Goddess! the 
genius of intelligence is ever adored by me and she gives me her visits in my nightly dreams. 4 1 find 
you here exactly of her likeness. Therefore give me your blessing, O goddess with the beautiful face." 

5 Vasishta said: — 

The goddess, being addressed by the lady in this way, remembered her faith and reliance in her, then 
politely spoke to the lady standing as a suppliant before her. 6 The goddess said, "I am pleased, my 
child, with your unfailing and undiminished adoration of me all your lifetime. Now say what you want 

7 The second Leela said, "Ordain O goddess, that with this body of nine I may accompany my 
husband to whatever place he is destined to go after his death in the war." 

8 The goddess replied, "Be it so my child who has worshipped me with flowers, incense and 
offerings with all diligence and without fail." 

9 Vasishta said: — 

The second Leela was cheered by this blessing of the goddess. The first Leela was much puzzled in 
her mind at the difference between their states. 10 The first Leela said, "Those who desire truth and 
they whose desires lean towards godliness have all their wishes fulfilled without delay and fail. 

11 Then tell me, goddess, why could I not keep company with my brahmin husband with my body of 
the brahmani, but had to be taken to him in the mountain home after my death." 

12 The goddess answered saying: — 

Know, O excellent lady, that I have no power to do anything. Everything happens according to the 
desire of the living being. 1 3 Know me only as the presiding divinity of wisdom, and I reveal 
everything according to my knowledge of it. It is by virtue of the intellectual powers exhibited in 
every being that it attains its particular end. 1 4 A living being has a certain development of mental 
powers and state when he desires an object. He attains that object according to the same development 
of mental powers and state. 

1 5 You had attained the powers of your understanding by your devotion to my service. You have 
always desired from me that you be liberated from flesh. 1 6 Accordingly, I have awakened your 
understanding in that way, whereby you have been able to arrive at your present state of purity. 1 7 It 
was because of your constant desire for liberation that you have gained the same state by enlargement 
(of the powers) of your consciousness. 

18 Whoever exerts his bodily powers according to the dictates of his understanding is sure to succeed 
in gaining his object sooner or later. 19 Without cultivation of the intellect, performance of austerities 
and adoration of gods are as vain as to expect fruit to fall from the sky. 20 Without cultivation of the 
intellect and exertion of manly powers, there is no way to success. Therefore if you do, you may 
choose for yourself. 

21 Truly the state of one's mind leads his internal soul to that state upon which it thinks, and to that 
prosperity which it attempts to obtain. 22 Now distinguish between what is desirable or disagreeable 
for you, and choose that which is holy and perfect, and you will certainly arrive at it. 

Chapter 46 — Viduratha Counter- Attacks 

1 Rama said, "Tell me what Viduratha did after he got angry an left the ladies and the goddess having 
said what he did, and went out from the camp." 

2 Vasishta said: — 

Viduratha, accompanied by a large group of his companions, left his camp like the bright moon beset 
by a host of stars. 3 He was in armor and girt by laces and girdles. Dressed in his military clothing, he 
went forth amidst the loud war cry of sorrow to the vanquished , like God Indra going to battle. 4 He 
gave orders to the soldiers and was informed of the battle array. 

Having given directions to his captains, he mounted his chariot. 5 It was adorned with equipment 
resembling the pinnacles of mountains and beset by five flags fringed with strings of pearls and gems, 
resembling a celestial car. 6 The iron hoops of its wheels flashed with their golden pegs, and the long 
and beautiful shaft of the car, rang with the tinkling of pearls which were suspended to it. 7 It was 
drawn by long necked, swift and slender horses of the best breed and auspicious marks. Their 
swiftness and bearing made them seem like they were flying in the air pulling a heavenly car with 
some god in it. 8 Impatient of the wind's swiftness, they spurred them with their back heels and left 
them behind, and sped the forepart of their bodies as if to devour the air, impeding their course. 9 The 
car was drawn by eight war horses with their manes hanging down their necks like fans, and white 
spots or circlets resembling the discs of moon on their foreheads, and filling the eight sides around 
with their hoarse neighing. 

10 At this time there rose a loud noise of the elephants, resounding like drums from the hollows of the 
distant hills. 1 1 Angry soldiers raised a loud clamor, and the tinkling of their belted trinkets, and 
clashing of their weapons, rang afar in the open air. 12 The crackling of bows, and the wheezing of 
arrows, joined with the jangle of armor clashing against one another, raised a confused hubbub all 
around. 13 Seen and heard on all sides were the sparks of blazing fires, champions challenging each 
other, painful shrieks of the wounded, and the piteous cry of captives. l 4 The mingled sounds 
thickened in the air and filled its cavity and sides like with solid stones, as if one could clutch the 
noise in the hands. 

15 Clouds of dust flew so fast and thick into the air that they seemed to be the earth's crust rising 
upward to block the path of the sun in the sky. 16 The great city was hidden in the dark womb of the 
spreading dust, just like an ignorant state of man is covered in darkness by the rising passion of youth. 

17 Burning lights became as dim as the fading stars of heaven by day light, and the darkness of night 
became as thick as the devils of darkness gather their strength at night. 

18 The two Leelas saw the great battle from the tent with the minister's virgin daughter. By favor of 
the goddess, they had their eyes enlightened with farsightedness. 

19 Now there was an end to the flashing and clashing of the hostile arms in the city, just like the flash 
and crash of undersea fires are put to an end by the all- submerging floods of the universal deluge. 

20 Vduratha collected his forces and, without considering the enemy's superiority, pressed himself 
forward into them, as the great Mount Meru rushed into the waters of the great deluge. 2 1 Now the 
twanging of the bow strings emitted a clattering sound, and the enemy forces advanced in battle array 

like bodies of clouds with rainbows amidst them. 22 Many kinds of missiles flew like falcons in the 
air. Black steel waved with a dark glare owing to the massacres they made. 23 Clashing swords 
striking against each another flashed with living flames of fire, and showers of arrows whistled like 
hissing rainfalls in the air. 24 Two edged saws pierced the bodies of the warriors, and the flinging 
weapons hurtled in the air, clashing and crashing each other. 25 The darkness of the night was put to 
flight by the blaze of the weapons. The entire army was pierced by arrows sticking like hairs on their 
bodies. 26 Headless trunks moved about like players in a horrid, solemn ritual of the god of death 
(Yama). Furies fled about at the violence of war, like raving girls at drunken revelries. 27 Elephants 
fighting with their tusks sent a clattering noise into the air. Stones flung from the slings flew like a 
flowing stream in the sky. 28 Bodies of men were falling dead on the ground like the dried leaves of 
forests blown away by wind. Streams of blood were running in the field of battle, as if the heights of 
war were pouring down the floods of death below. 29 The dust of the earth was set down by the floods 
of blood, and the darkness was dispelled by the blaze of weapons. 

All clamor ceased in intense fighting, and the fear for life was lost under the stern resolution of death. 
30 The fighting was stern without a cry or noise, like the pouring of rain in a breezeless sky. The glitter 
of swords in the darkened air was like the flashes of forked lightning in murky clouds. 31 Darts were 
flying about with a hissing noise. Crowbars hit one another with a harsh sound. Large weapons struck 
each another with a jarring noise. The dreadful war raged direfully in the dim darkness of the night. 

Chapter 47 — Saras wati Explains Why Sindhu Will Win; the Encounter of Sindhu & Viduratha 

1 Vasishta said: — 

As the war was waging furiously between the two armies, the two Leelas addressed the goddess of 
knowledge and said, 2 "Tell us, O goddess, what unknown cause keeps our husband from gaining 
victory in this war, in spite of your good grace to him and his repelling enemy elephants in the 

3 Saraswati replied: — 

Know daughters that I was asked by Viduratha's enemy to give him victory in battle, which your 
husband never craved of me. 4 He lives and enjoys his life as it was desired by him, while his 
antagonist gains the conquest according to his aim and object. 5 Knowledge is contained in the 
consciousness of every living being, and rewards every one according to the desire to which it is 

6 My nature, like that of all things, is as unchangeable as the heat of fire. So the nature of Viduratha's 
knowledge of truth and his desire for liberation lead him to the like result. 7 The intelligent Leela will 
also be liberated with him, but not the unintelligent one who by her nature is still unprepared for that 
highest state of bliss. 

8 Viduratha's enemy, the King of Sindhu, has long worshipped me for his victory in war. Therefore 
the bodies of Viduratha and his wife must fall into his hands. 9 O girl, you will also have liberation 
like hers in course of time. But before that, this enemy of yours, the King of Sindhu, will reign 
victorious in this earth. 

10 Vasishta said: — 

As the goddess was speaking in this manner, the sun appeared on his rising hill to behold the 
wonderful sight of the forces fighting. n The thick mists of night disappeared like the enemy Sindhu 
hosts and left Viduratha's forces to glitter like stars at the approach of night. 12 The hills and dales and 
the land and water gradually appeared to sight, and the world seemed to reappear to view from 
amidst the dark ocean of the deluge. 1 3 The bright rays of the rising sun radiated on all sides like 
streams of liquid gold and made the hills appear as they did the bodies of warriors besmeared with 

14 The sky seemed like an immense field of battle, stretched over by the radiant rays of the sun that 
made the warriors' shining arms shake in a snake-like manner. 15 The helmets on their heads raised 
their lotus-like tops, and the rings about their ears blazed with their jeweled glare. 16 The pointed 
weapons were as fixed as the snouts of unicorns, and the flying darts fled about like butterflies in the 
air. The bloody field presented a picture of a ruddy dawn and dusk, and the dead bodies on the ground 
represented the figures of motionless saints in their yoga. 1 7 Necklaces hung on their necks like 
snakes, and armor covered their bodies like the skins of serpents. Flags were flying like crests of 
vines on high, and the legs of warriors stood like pillars in the field. 18 Their long arms were like tree 
branches, and the arrows formed a bush of reeds. The flash of weapons spread like a green meadow 
all around, while their blades blazed with the luster of the long-leaved ketaka flowers. 19 The long 

lines of weapons formed like rows of bamboo and bramble bushes. Their mutual clashing emitted 
sparks of fire like clusters of the red asoka flowers. 

20 Bands of spiritual masters (siddhas) were flying with their leaders away in the air to avoid the 
weapons that were blazing with the radiance of the rising sun, forming as it were, a city of gold on 
high. 21 The sky re-echoed to the clashing of darts and discuses, of swords and spears, and of mallets 
and clubs in the field, and the ground overflowed with streams of blood bearing away the bodies of 
the slain. 22 The land was strewn with crowbars, lances and spears, and with tridents and stones on 
all sides. Headless bodies were falling hideously, pierced by poles and pikes and other instruments 
of death. 

23 Above, the ghosts and demons of death were making horrible noise, and below, the shining chariots 
of Sindhu and Viduratha moved with a loud rumbling. 24 They looked like the two luminaries of the 
sun and moon in heaven, and they were equipped with various weapons of discs and rods, of 
crowbars and spears, and other missiles besides. 25 Each was surrounded by thousands of soldiers 
who shouted loudly as their king turned towards them. 

26 Crushed under heavy discs, many fell dead and wounded with loud cries. Big elephants were 
floating lightly on the currents of blood. 27 Hairs on the heads of dead bodies floated like weeds in the 
stream of blood, and the floating discuses glided like the discs of the moon, reflected in the purple 
streamlet. 2 8 The air of the battlefield was filled the confused noise of the jingling of jeweled 
ornaments, the tinkling bells of war carriages, and the flapping of flags in the wind. 29 Numbers of 
valiant as well as dastardly soldiers followed their respective kings, some bleeding under the spears 
of Kuntas and others pierced by the arrows of archers. 

30 Then the two kings turned their chariots in circling rings amidst phalanxes armed with all sorts of 
destructive weapons. 31 Each confronted the other with his arms, and having met one another face to 
face, commenced showering forth his arrows with the pattering sound of hailstones. 32 They both 
threatened one another with the roaring of loud surges and clouds. In their rage, the two lions among 
men fired their arrows at each another. 33 They flung their missiles in the air in the form of stones and 
malls, and some faced like swords, and others headed as mallets. 34 Some were sharp edged discs, 
and some curved as battle axes. Some were pointed like pikes and spears, and others had forms like 
bars and rods. Some were shaped like tridents, and others as bulky as blocks of stones. 

3 5 These missiles were falling as fully and as fast as rocks hurled down from high by gusts of 
blustering hurricanes. The meeting of the two warring powers was as the confluence of the Indus and 
the sea, with tremendous roaring, collision and clashing. 

Chapter 48 — Supernatural Weapons 

I Vasishta said: — 

King Viduratha, finding the high shouldered king of Sindhu before him, was enraged like the raging 
sun, in his midday fury. 2 The twanging of his bow resounded in the air on all sides, and growled as 
loudly as the howling of winds in the caverns of mountains. 3 He drew his arrows from his dark 
quiver and shot them like the rays of the sun rising from the womb of night. 4 Each arrow flung from 
the bowstring flew like thousands in the air, and fell like millions on the ground. 5 The King of Sindhu 
was equally expert in his archery, as both of these archers owed their skill with bows to the favor of 

6 Some of these darts were called bolts which blocked the aerial passages, like door bolts do their 
doors, the fell down on the ground with the loud roar of thunderbolts. 7 Others decorated with gold 
flew hissing as if blown by the winds, and after shining like stars in the sky, fell like blazing meteors 
on the ground. 8 Showers of shafts poured forth constantly from the hands of Viduratha, like the 
ceaseless torrents of rivers, or billows of the sea, or the endless radiation of solar rays. 9 Shells and 
bullets were flying about like sparks of fire struck out of the balls of red-hot iron, and falling like 
flowers of forests blown away by gusts of wind. 10 They fell like showers of rainwater, and like the 
rush of water-falls, and as plentifully as the sparks of fire that flew from Viduratha's burning city. 

II The jarring sound of their bowstrings hushed the clamor of the two armies, like a calm quiets the 
roaring of the raging sea. 12 The course of arrows, was as the stream of Ganges (the milky path) in 
heaven, running towards the King of Sindhu, as the river runs to meet the sea (Sindhu). 13 The shower 
of arrows flying from the golden bow of the king was like a flood of rain falling under the variegated 
rainbow in the sky. 

1 4 Then from the window, the Leela who was the native of that city saw the darts of her husband 
rushing like the currents of the Ganges against the Sindhu forces resembling a sea. 15 She understood 
the flight of those darts to promise victory to her lord, and then spoke gladly to Saraswati, with her 
lotus-like mouth. 1 6 "Be victorious O goddess, and behold victory waiting on the side of my lord 
whose darts are piercing the rocks and breaking them to pieces." 17 As she was uttering these words 
full of affection, the goddesses eyed her sideways and smiled at her womanish tenderness of heart. 

18 The flaming fire of Sindhu swallowed the raging sea of Viduratha's arrows like an undersea fire 
consumes water, and like Jahnu drank the stream of Ganges. 19 The Sindhu missile weapons thwarted 
the thickening arrows of his adversary, and drove them back broken and flying as dust in the empty 
air. 20 As an extinguished lamp loses its light in the air, so the flashes of the fire arms disappeared in 
the sky, and nobody knew where they fled. 

2 1 Having thus dispelled the shower of arrows, the Sindhu king sent a thick cloud of his weapons, 
appearing as hundreds of dead bodies flying in the air. 22 Viduratha repelled them quickly by means of 
his better bolts, as a hurricane disperses the frightening clouds in the air. 23 Both kings, baffled in their 
aims by opposing arms let indiscriminately loose against each another, laid hold on more powerful 

24 Sindhu let fly his magic missile that was gift from a gandharva. It kept the army of his enemy all 

spell-bound except Viduratha himself. 25 Struck with this weapon, the soldiers became as mute as 
moonstruck, staring in their looks, and appearing as dead bodies or as pictures in a painting. 26 As the 
soldiers of Viduratha remained spellbound within their files, King Viduratha employed his 
instruments of a counter-charm to remove the spell. 2 7 This awakened the senses of his men like 
morning twilight reveals a bed of lotuses, and the rising sun opens their closed petals to light. 

The Sindhu king fired his rage at them like the raging. 28 He flung his serpentine weapons upon them, 
which bound like a band around all their bodies, encircling the battle ground and air like snakes 
wrapped round crags and rocks. 29 The ground was filled with snakes like a lake with the spreading 
stalks of lotuses, and the bodies of gigantic warriors were bound by them like hills by huge and 
horrible hydras. 30 Everything was overpowered by the sharp power of the poison, and the inhabitants 
of the hills and forests were benumbed by the venomous infection. 31 The smart poison spread a fiery 
heat all around, and the frozen snows like fire-brands sent forth their burning particles which were 
blown by the hot winds in the air. 

32 The fully armed Viduratha, equally skilled in arms, then had recourse to his garuda (divine eagle) 
anti-serpent weapons. They fired like mountain eagles to all sides. 33 Their golden wings spread in 
the sky on all sides, and embroidered the air with purple gold. The flapping of their wings wheezed 
like a breeze that blew the poisonous vapor far away into the air. 34 It made the snakes breathe out of 
their nostrils with a hissing, resembling the gurgling of waters in a whirlpool in the sea. 35 The flying 
garuda weapons devoured the land-creeping serpents with a whistling noise, like that of the waters 
being sucked up by Agastya. 36 The face of the ground, delivered from its covering of these reptiles, 
again appeared to view like the surface of the earth reappears to light after its deliverance from the 
waters of the deluge. 37 Afterwards the army of garudas disappeared from sight like a line of lamps 
put out by the wind, and like an assembly of clouds vanishes in autumn. 3 8 They fled like flying 
mountains fearing the bolts of thundering Indra, and vanished like the impermanent world seen in a 
dream, or as like a castle in the sky built by fancy. 

39 Then King Sindhu shot his shots of dark smoke that darkened the scene like the dark cave under the 
ground. 40 It hid the face of the earth and sky like flood waters reaching to the sky's face. It made the 
army appear like a shoal of fishes, and the stars like gems shining in the deep. 4 1 The spreading 
darkness appeared like a sea of ink or dark mud, or like the particles of Anjana Hill blown by the 
breeze over the face of nature. 42 All beings seemed to be immersed in the sea or darkness, and to lose 
their energies as in the deep gloom of midnight. 

4 3 Viduratha the best of the most skilful in ballistics, fired his sun-bright shot which like the sun 
illumined the vault of the sky. 44 It rose high amidst the spreading darkness like the sun with his 
effulgent beams, and dispelled the shades of darkness, as autumn does the rainy clouds. 45 The sky 
being cleared of its veil of darkness, manifested itself with its reddish clouds that resembled the 
ruddy bodices of maidens before the king. 

46 Now the landscape appeared in full view, like the understanding of men coming in full play after 
the extinction of their greed. 47 The enraged Sindhu then laid hold on his dreadful demon rakshasa 
weapon, which he instantly flung on his enemy with its bedeviled darts. 4 8 These horrid and 

destructive darts flew on all sides in the air, and roared like the sea and the gigantic dark clouds of 
heaven. 49 They were like the flames of bright fire, with their long licking tongues and ash-colored 
and smoky curls rising like white hairs on the head, and making a chat-chat sound like that of moist 
fuel burning. 50 They wheeled round in circles in the air with a horrible tang-tang noise, now flaming 
as fire and now fuming as smoke, and then flying about as sparks of fire. 51 With mouths beset by rows 
of sprouting teeth like lotus stalks, and faces defaced by dirty and moldy eyes, their hairy bodies were 
like stagnate pools full of moss and weeds. 52 They flew about and flashed and roared aloud like dark 
clouds, while the locks of hairs on their heads glared like lightning in the midway sky. 

53 At this instant Viduratha, Leela's husband, sent forth his Narayana weapon that had the power to 
suppress wicked spirits and demons. 54 The appearance of this magic weapon made the bodies of the 
rakshasa demons disappear like darkness at sunrise. 55 This entire army of fiends was lost in the air, 
like the dark clouds of the rainy season vanish into nothing at the approach of autumn. 

56 Then Sindhu discharged his fire arms which set fire to the sky, and began to burn down everything 
like the all destroying conflagration of the last day. 57 They filled all the sides of air with clouds of 
smoke that seemed to hide the face of heaven under the darkness of hell. 58 They set fire to the woods 
in the hills which burned like mountains of gold, while the trees appeared to bloom with yellow 
plumeria flowers all around. 59 All the sides of the sky above, and the hills, woods and groves below, 
were enveloped in the flames, as if they were covered under the red powder of Holi with which 
Yama, the God of the underworld, was playing over the plain. 60 The heaven- spreading flame burnt 
legions into a heap of ashes like an undersea fire consumes entire ships and fleets in the sea. 

6 1 As Sindhu continued to dart his fire arms against his defeated adversary, Viduratha let off his 
watery arms with reverential regard. 62 Filled with water, these flew forward likes the shades of 
darkness from their hidden cells. They spread up and down and on all sides like a melted mountain 
gushing in a hundred cataracts. 63 They stretched like mountainous clouds or like a sea in the air, and 
fell in showers of watery arrows and stones on the ground. 64 They flew up like large tamara trees, 
and gathered in groups like the shades of night, appeared as the thick gloom beyond the polar 
mountains. 65 They gave the sky the appearance of subterraneous caves, emitting a gurgling sound like 
the loud roaring of elephants. 66 These waters soon drank the spreading furious fire, like the shades of 
the dark night swallow the surrounding red tints of the evening. 67 Having swallowed the fires above, 
the waters flooded the ground and filled it with a humidity which served to weaken all bodies, as the 
power of sleep numbs everybody in death-like torpidity. 

68 In this manner both the kings were throwing their enchanted weapons against each other, and found 
them equally quelling and repelling one another. 69 The heavy armed soldiers of Sindhu and the 
captains of his regiments were swept away by the flood, together with the war-cars that floated upon 

70 At this moment, Sindhu thought upon his thermal weapons which possessed the miraculous power 
of preserving his people from the water. He hurled them in the air. 71 These absorbed the waters like 
the sun sucks up the moisture of the night, and dried up the land and revived the soldiers, except those 
that were already dead and gone. 72 Their heat chased the coldness like the rage of the illiterate 

against the learned, and made the moist ground as dry as when sultry winds strew the forest land with 
dried leaves. 73 It decorated the face of the ground with a golden color, like when the royal dames 
adorn themselves with yellow paint. 74 It put the soldiers on the opposite side in a state of feverish 
fainting, like when the tender leaves of trees are scorched by the warmth of a wild fire in summer 

75 Viduratha, in his war-like rage, took up his bow, bent it to a curve, and let fly his cloudy arms on 
his enemy. 76 They sent forth columns of clouds as thick as the dark shades of night, which flying 
upward like a forest of dark tamara trees, spread a shelter heavy with water on high. 77 They lowered 
under the weight of their water, stood still by their massive thickness, and roared aloud in their 
circles all over the sky. 78 Then blew the winds dropping the dewdrops from the icy store they bore 
on their wings. Showers of rain fell quickly from the clouds collected on high. 79 Then fiery lightning 
flashed from the clouds like golden serpents, or rather like side glances from the eyes of heavenly 
apsara nymphs. 80 The roaring of the clouds rebounded in the mountainous caverns of the sky, and the 
quarters of heaven echoed with the sound like the hoarse noise of elephants, the roaring of lions, and 
the growling of tigers and bears. 81 Showers of rain fell in floods with drops as big as mallets and 
with flashes of lightning that threatened like stern glances from the god of death. 82 Huge mists rose up 
in the form of vapors of the earth and were carried aloft into the sky by the heated air. They seemed 
like demons rising from the infernal regions. 

83 The mirage of the warfare ceased after a while, like worldly desires subside to rest upon tasting the 
sweet joys attending on divine knowledge. 84 The ground became full of mud and mire and was 
impassable everywhere. The forces of Sindhu were flooded by the watery deluge, like the Sindhu 
River (Indus) or the sea. 

85 He then hurled his airy weapon that filled the vault of heaven with winds, and raged in all their fury 
like the bhairava spirits on the last day of resurrection. 86 The winds blew on all sides of the sky, with 
darts falling like thunder bolts, and hailstones now piercing and then crushing all bodies as if by the 
last blast of nature on the dooms-day. 

Chapter 49 — More Supernatural Weapons 

Vasishta speaking: — 

1 Then blew the icy winds of winter, blasting the beauty of the forest tree foliage, shaking and 
breaking the beautiful trees, and covering them with gusts of dust. 2 Then rose a gale whirling the trees 
like birds flying in the air, dashing and smashing soldiers on the ground, and hurling and breaking 
buildings to dust. 3 This dreadful squall blew away Viduratha and his force, like a rapid current 
carries away broken and rotten fragments of wood. 

4 Then Viduratha, skilled in ballistics, hurled his huge and heavy arrows that stretched themselves to 
the sky and withstood the force of wind and rain. 5 Opposed by these rock-like barriers, the airy 
weapons were at a stand still, just like animal spirits are checked by the firm detachment of the soul. 
6 Trees that had been blown up by the winds and were floating in the breezy air, now came down and 
fell upon dead bodies, like flocks of crows upon putrid carcasses. 7 The shouting from the city, the 
distant hum of the village, the howling of forests, and the rustling of the trees ceased on all sides like 
the vain words of men. 

8 Sindhu saw burning rocks falling from above like leaves of trees, and flying about like the winged 
menakas (mind-born from apsaras) or moving rocks of the sea or Sindhu. 9 He then hurled his 
thundering weapons, falling like flaming thunderbolts from heaven, which burnt the rocks away like 
flaming fire destroys darkness. 10 These falling bolts broke the stones with their pointed ends, and 
hewed down hilltops like a hurricane scattering fruit from trees on the ground. 1 1 Viduratha then 
darted his Brahma weapon to quell the thunderbolts, which jostling against one another, disappeared 
in their mutual conflict. 

12 Sindhu then cast his demonic weapons as black as darkness, which fled as lines of horrid pisacha 
demons on all sides. 13 They filled the sky with the darkness of their bodies, and made the daylight 
turn to the shade of night, as if it were for fear of them. 14 They were as strong in their figures as huge 
columns of smoke, and as dark in their complexion as the blackest pitch, and tangible to the hand. 
15 They were like lean skeletons with erect hair on their heads and bearded faces, with looks as pale 
as those of beggars, and bodies as black as those of the aerial and nocturnal fiends. 16 They were 
terrific and like idiots in their looks, and moved about with bones and skulls in their hands. They 
were as meager as churls, but more cruel than either the sword or thunderbolt. 17 The pisacha demon- 
ghosts lurk about woods, bogs and highways and pry into empty and open door houses. They hunt 
about like ghosts in their dark forms, and fly away as fast as fleeting lightning. 18 With fury they ran 
and attacked the remaining enemy forces that stood weaponless in the field with their broken and 
sorrowful hearts. 1 9 Frightened to death they stood motionless, and dropped down their arms and 
armor, and stood petrified as if they were demon-struck, with staring eyes, open mouths, and 
unmoving hands and feet. 20 They let fall both their lower and upper garments, loosened their bowels 
and slackened their bodies through fear, and kept shaking like trees by the wind 

21 The line of the pisachas then advanced to frighten Viduratha out of his wits, but he had the good 
sense to understand them as the mere magic mumbo-jumbo. 22 He knew the counter charm to force the 
pisachas from the field, and employed his charmed weapons against the enemy pisacha army. 23 He 

fired his rupika weapon with anger, which gave comfort to his own army and deluded the enemy 
pisacha force. 24 These rupikas flew in the air with erect hairs on their heads, their terrific eyes sunk 
in their sockets. Their waists and breasts moved like trees with bunches of fruit. 25 They had past their 
youth and become old. Their bodies were bulky and worn out with age. They had deformed backs and 
hips, and protuberant navels and naves. 26 They had dark dusky bodies and held human skulls in their 
hands all besmeared with blood. They had bits of half devoured flesh in their mouths, and pouring out 
fresh blood from their sides. 27 They had a variety of gestures, motions and contortions of their 
bodies, which were as hard as stone, with wry faces, crooked backs and twisted legs and limbs. 
2 8 Some had their faces like dogs, crows, and owls, with broad mouths and flat cheek-bones and 
bellies, and held human skulls and entrails in their hands. 29 They laid hold of the pisachas like men 
catch little children, and joined with them in one body as their consorts. 30 They joined together in 
dancing and singing with outstretched arms and mouths and eyes, now joining hand in hand and now 
pursuing one another in their merry sport. 3 l They stretched their long tongues from their horrid 
mouths, and licked away the blood exuding from the wounds of the dead bodies. 32 They plunged in 
the pool of blood with as much delight as if they had dived into a pond of ghee. They scrabbled in the 
bloody puddle with outstretched arms and feet, and uplifted ears and nose. 33 They rolled and jostled 
with one another in the puddle of carrion and blood, and made it swell like the Milky Ocean when 
churned by Mandara Mountain. 

34 As Viduratha employed his magic weapon against the magic of Sindhu, so he had recourse to others 
from a sense of his inferiority. 35 He fired his vetala weapon, which made dead bodies, whether with 
or without their heads, rise up in a body in their ghastly shapes. 36 The joint forces of the vetalas, 
pisachas and rupikas presented a dreadful appearance like that of the Kavandhas, and they seemed as 
if ready to destroy the earth. 

37 The other monarch was not slow to show his magic skill by hurling his demon rakshasa weapon, 
which threatened to grasp and devour the three worlds. 3 8 Their gigantic bodies rose as high as 
mountains, and with their ghostly forms, they seemed like hellish fiends appearing from the infernal 
regions. 39 The ferocious body of the roaring rakshasas terrified both gods and demigods with their 
loud martial music and war dance of their headless trunks. 4 ° The giddy vetalas, yakshas and 
kushmandas devoured the fat and flesh of dead bodies as their toast, and drank the gory blood as their 
lurid wine in the course of their war dance. 41 The hopping and jumping of the kushmandas in their 
war dance in streams of blood, scattered its crimson particles in the air, which assembled in the form 
of a bridge of red evening clouds over the sparkling sea. 

Chapter 50 — The Death of Viduratha 

1 Vasishta said: — 

As the tide of war was rolling violently with a general massacre on both sides, the belligerent 
monarchs thought on the means of saving their own forces from the impending ruin. 2 The 
magnanimous King of Sindhu, who was armed with patience, called to his mind the Vaishnava 
weapon, which was the greatest of arms and as powerful as Shiva himself. 3 He hurled the Vaishnava 
weapon using his best judgment (mantra). Immediately it emitted a thousand sparks of fire from its 
flaming blade on all sides. 4 These sparks became large balls as big and bright as to shine like 
hundreds of suns in the sky, and others flew like the lengthy shafts of cudgels in the air. 5 Some of 
them filled the wide field of the sky with thunderbolts as thick as the blades of grass, and others 
spread over the lake of heaven with battle axes like a bed of lotuses. 6 These poured forth showers of 
pointed arrows spreading like a net in the sky, and fired dark sword blades scattered like tree leaves 
in the air. 

7 At this time, the rival king Viduratha sent forth another Vaishnava weapon for repelling the former, 
and removing the reliance of his foe in his weakness. 8 It sent forth a stream of weapons counteracting 
those of the other, and overflowing in currents of arrows and pikes, clubs and axes and missiles of 
various kinds. 9 These weapons struggled with and jostled against one another. They split the vault of 
heaven with their clattering, and cracked like loud thunder claps cleaving mountain cliffs. l ° The 
arrows pierced rods and swords, and the swords hewed down axes and lances to pieces. The malls 
and mallets drove the missiles, and the pikes broke the spears. n The mallets like Mandara rocks, 
broke and drove away the rushing arrows as waves of the sea, and the resistless swords broke to 
pieces by striking at the maces. 12 The lances revolved like the halo of the moon, repelling the black 
sword blades as darkness, and the swift missiles flashed as the destructive fires of Yama. 1 3 The 
whirling discs were destroying all other weapons. They stunned the world by their noise, and broke 
mountains by their strokes. 14 The clashing weapons were breaking one another in numbers, and 
Viduratha defeated the arms of Sindhu, like a steadfast mountain defies the thunders of Indra. 1 5 The 
truncheons were blowing away the curved swords, and the pikes were warding off the stones fired by 
slings. The crowbars broke down the pointed heads of the pikes. 16 The iron rods of the enemy were 
broken by tridents of Shiva, and the enemy arms were falling down and crushing one another to 
pieces. 17 The clattering shots stopped the course of the heavenly stream, and the combustion of 
powder filled the air with smoke. 18 The clashing of dashing weapons lit the sky like lightning, their 
clattering cracked the worlds like thunderclaps, and their shock split and broke the mountains like 
thunderbolts. l 9 Thus the warring weapons were breaking one another by their impacts, and 
protracting the engagement by their mutual overthrow. 

20 As Sindhu was standing still in defiance of the prowess of his adversary, Viduratha lifted his own 
fire-arm, and fired it with a thundering sound. 21 It set Sindhu's war chariot on fire like a heap of hay 
on the plain, while the Vaishnava weapons filled the ethereal sphere with their meteoric blaze. 22 The 
two kings were thus engaged in fierce fighting with each other, the one firing his weapons like drops 
of raging rain, and the other hurling his arms like currents of a deluging river. 23 The two kings were 
thus harassing each other like two brave champions in their contest, when the chariot of Sindhu was 

reduced to ashes by its flame. 24 He then fled to the woods like a lion from its cavern in the mountain, 
and repelled the fire that pursued him by his aqueous weapons. 25 After losing his car and alighting on 
the ground, he brandished his sword and cut off the hoofs and heels of the horses of his enemy's 
chariot in the twinkling of an eye. 26 He hacked everything that came before him like the lean stalks of 
lotuses. Then Viduratha also left his chariot with his sword in hand. 

27 Both were equally brave and matched to one another in their skill in warfare. They turned about in 
their rounds, and scraped their swords into saws by striking against the other. 28 With their jagged 
weapons, they tore the bodies of their enemies like fish crushed under teeth, when Viduratha dropped 
down his broken sword, and threw his javelin against his enemy. 29 It fell with a rattling noise on the 
bosom of Sindhu like a flaming meteor falls rumbling in the breast of the sea. 30 But the weapon fell 
back having hit his breast plate, like a maiden flies back from the embrace of a lover deemed an unfit 
match for her. 3 1 Its shock made Sindhu throw out a flood of blood from his lungs, resembling the 
water spout an elephant let outs from its trunk. 

32 Seeing this, the second Leela cried with joy to her sister Leela, "See here the demon Sindhu killed 
by our lion-like husband. 33 Sindhu is slain by the javelin of our lion-like lord, like the wicked demon 
by the nails of the lion-god Narasimha, and he is spouting forth his blood like the stream of water, 
thrown out by the trunk of an elephant from a pool. 34 But alas! This Sindhu is trying to mount on 
another car, although bleeding so profusely from his mouth and nostrils, as to raise a wheezing 

35 "Look there! Our lord Viduratha is breaking down the golden mountings of his car with the blows 
of his mallet, like the thundering clouds Pushkara and Avarta break down the gold peaks of Sumeru. 

36 See this Sindhu now mounting on another carriage, which is now brought before him, and decorated 
like the splendid seat of a gandharva. 37 Alas! Our lord is now made the mark of Sindhu's mallet 
hurled like a thunder bolt against him. But lo! How he flies off and avoids the deadly blow of Sindhu. 
38 Hurrah! How nimbly he has got up upon his own car. But sorrow is to me that Sindhu has overtaken 
him in his flight. 39 He mounts on his car like a hunter climbs on a tree, and pierces my husband, like a 
bird-catcher with his pointed arrow does a parrot hidden in its hollow. 40 Behold his car is broken 
down and its flags flung aside. His horses are hurt and the driver is driven away. His bow is broken 
and his armor is shattered, and his whole body is full of wounds. 41 His strong breast-plate is broken 
by slabs of stone and his big head is pierced by pointed arrows. Behold him thrown down on earth, 
all mangled in blood." 

42 "Look with what difficulty he is restored to his senses, and seated in his seat with his arm cut off 
and bleeding under Sindhu's sword. 43 See him weltering in blood gushing out profusely from his 
body, like a red stream issuing from a hill of rubies. Sorrow is me, and cursed be the sword of Sindhu 
that has brought this misery on us. 44 It has severed his thighs like they cut a tree with a saw, and has 
lopped off his legs like the stalks of trees. 45 Ah! It is I who am so struck and wounded and killed by 
the enemy. I am dead and gone and burnt away with my husband's body." 

46 Saying so, the second Leela began to shudder with fear at the sorrowful sight of her husband, and 
fell unconscious on the ground like a vine cut off by an axe. 

47 Viduratha though thus mutilated and disabled, was rising to smite the enemy in his rage, when he 
fell down from his car like an uprooted tree, and was replaced there by his charioteer ready to make 
his retreat. 48 At this instant, the tribal Sindhu struck a saber on his neck, and pursued the car in which 
the dying monarch was borne back to his tent. 

49 The body of Padma (alias Viduratha) was placed like a lotus in the presence of Saraswati, shining 
with the splendor of the sun. But the elated Sindhu was kept from entering that place, like a giddy fly 
from a flame. 50 The enemy returned to his camp and the charioteer entered the apartment and placed 
the body on its death-bed in the presence of the goddess. The body was all mangled and besmeared 
with blood seeping from the pores of the severed neck. 

Chapter 51 — Sindhu's Rule 

1 Vasishta said: — 

The loud cry that the king was killed in battle by the rival monarch, struck the people with awe, and 
filled the realm with dismay. 2 Carts loaded with utensils and household articles were driving through 
the streets. Women with their loud wailing were running away amidst the impassable paths of the city. 
3 Weeping maidens fleeing for fear were ravished on the way by their captors. Inhabitants were in 
danger of being plundered of their properties by one another. 4 The joyful shouts of soldiers in the 
enemy camp resounded with the roaring of loose elephants and neighing of horses trampling men to 
death on their way. 5 The doors of the royal treasury were broken open by brave brigands, the hinges 
flew off and the ceilings re-echoed to the strokes. The warders were overpowered by numbers, and 
countless treasures were plundered and carried away. 6 Bandits ripped off the bellies of the royal 
dames in the palace, and the chandala freebooters hunted about the royal apartments. 7 The hungry 
rabble robbed provisions from the royal stores, and soldiers were snatching jewels from weeping 
children trodden down under their feet. 8 Young and beautiful maidens were dragged by their hair 
from the seraglio, and the rich gems that fell from the hands of the robbers glistened all along the way. 

9 Chiefs assembled with ardor with their troops of horses, elephants and war-chariots, and announced 
the installation of Sindhuby his minister. 10 Chief engineers were employed in decorating the city and 
its halls, and the balconies were filled by the royal party attending the inauguration. n It was then that 
the coronation of Sindhu's son took place amidst the loud acclamations of victory. Titles and dignities 
were conferred upon the noblemen on the victor's side. 

1 2 The royal party were fleeing for their lives into the villages, where they were pursued by the 
victorious soldiers. A general pillage spread in every town and village throughout the realm. 13 Gangs 
of robbers thronged about and blocked the passages for pillage and plunder. A thick mist darkened the 
light of the day for want of the magnanimous Viduratha. 14 The loud lamentations of the friends of the 
dead, and the bitter cries of the dying, mixed with the clamor raised by the driving cars, elephants and 
horses, thickened in the air like a solid body of sound. 

15 Loud trumpets proclaimed the victory of Sindhu in every city and announced his sole sovereignly 
all over the earth. 1 6 The high- shouldered Sindhu entered the capital like a second Manu for 
repopulating it after the all-devastating flood of war was over. 1 7 Then the tribute of the country 
poured into the city of Sindhu from all sides. These loaded on horses and elephants resembled the 
rich cargoes borne by ships to the sea. 18 The new king issued forthwith his circulars and royal edicts 
to all sides, struck coins in his own name, and placed his ministers as commissioners in all provinces. 
1 9 His iron-rod was felt in all districts and cities like the inflexible rod of Yama, and it awed the 
living with fear of instant death. 20 All insurrections and tumults in the realm soon subsided to rest 
under his reign, like the flying dust of the earth and the falling leaves of trees fall to the ground upon 
subsidence of a tempest. 

21 The whole country on all sides was pacified to rest, like the perturbed sea of milk after it had been 
churned by Mandara Mountain. 22 Then there blew the gentle breeze of Malaya, unfurling the locks of 
the lotus-faced maidens of Sindhu's realm, and blowing the liquid fragrance of their bodies around, 

and driving away the unwholesome air of the carnage. 

[The entire vision ofLeela shows the state of human life, with its various incidents and phases to 
its last termination by death. The discontented brahmin longs for royal dignity, imagines all its 
enjoyments in the person ofPadma, and at last in the character of Viduratha sees all its evils. The 
lesson is for aspirants to avoid aiming at high worldly honors which end in their destruction. In 
her silent meditation, Leela by her wisdom sees the whole course and vicissitudes of the world, 
and the rise and fall of human glory in the aspirations of her husband. — V. L. Mitra] 

Chapter 52 — The Second Leela Reflects upon the First Leela's Own Self-Concept: Life after 


1 Vasishta said: — 

In the meanwhile, O Rama, the first Leela saw her husband lying unconscious before her and about to 
breathe his last. She spoke to Saraswati, 2 "Behold, O mother, my husband is about to shuffle his 
mortal coil in this perilous war that has laid waste his whole kingdom" 

3 Saraswati replied: — 

This combat that you saw, fought with such fury and lasting so long in the field, was neither fought in 
your kingdom nor in any part of this earth. 4 It occurred nowhere except in the vacant space of the 
shrine containing the dead body of the brahmin where it appeared only as the phantom of a dream. 
5 This land that appeared as the kingdom of your living lord Viduratha was situated with all its 
territories in the inner apartment of Padma. 6 Again it was the tomb of the brahmin Vasishta, situated 
in the hilly village of Vindya, that showed these varying scenes of the mortal world within itself. 7 As 
the departed soul views the vision of the past world within its narrow tomb, so is the appearance of 
all worldly accidents unreal in their nature. 

8 These objects that we see here as realities, including these bodies of mine and yours and this of 
Leela, together with this earth and these waters, are just the same as phantoms rising in the tomb of the 
deceased brahmin of the hilly region. 9 It is the soul that presents the images of things, and nothing 
external which is wholly unreal can cast its reflection on the soul. Therefore know your soul to be the 
true essence which is uncreated and immortal, and the source of all its creations within itself. 

1 ° The soul reflects on its inborn images without changing itself in any way. Therefore it was the 
nature of the brahmin's soul that displayed these images in itself within the sphere of his tomb. n But 
the illusion of the world with all its commotion was viewed in the vacant space of the souls of the 
brahmin and Padma, and not displayed in the empty space of their tombs, where there was no such 
false reflection of the world. 

12 There is no error or illusion anywhere except in the misconception of the observer. Therefore the 
removal of the fallacy from the mind of the viewer leads him to the perception of the light of truth. 

1 3 Error consists in taking the unreal for the real and in thinking the viewer and the view, or the 
subjective and objective, is different from each other. It is the removal of the distinction of the 
subjective and objective that leads us to the knowledge of unity (the one or Aum). 14 Know that the 
Supreme Soul is free from the acts of production and destruction, and it is His light that displays all 
things of which He is the source. Learn that the entire outer nature has no existence nor change in 

15 The souls of other beings exhibit their own natures in themselves, just like those in the burial tomb 
of the brahmin displayed the various dispositions to which his mind was accustomed. 16 The soul has 
no notion of the outer world or any created thing in it. Its consciousness of itself is like an uncreated 
emptiness. It comprehends its knowledge of the world in itself. 

17 The knowledge of the mountain ranges of Mem and others is included within the knowledge in the 
emptiness of the soul. There is no substance or solidity in them, just like a great city seen in a dream. 

18 The soul sees hundreds of mountain ranges and thousands of solid worlds all drawn in the small 
compass of the mind, like in its state of dreaming. 19 Multitudes of worlds are contained in a grain of 
the brain of the mind, just like the long leaves of the plantain tree are contained in one of its minute 
seeds. 20 All three worlds are contained in an atom of consciousness in the same manner as great 
cities are seen in a dream. Each of all the particles of consciousness within the mind has the 
representation of a world in it. 

21 Now this Leela, your stepmother (i.e., Arundhati, the wife of the hill-brahmin Vasishta), has 
already gone to the world that contains the tomb of Padma before the spirit of Viduratha could get 
there. 22 The moment when Leela fell in a swoon in your presence, know her spirit was immediately 
conveyed to him and placed by his side. 

23 Leela asked, "Tell me, O goddess, how was this lady endowed with my form? How did she come 
to placed as my stepmother beside my deceased husband (Prince Padma)? 24 Tell me in short, in what 
form do the people in Padma' s house see her, and how are they now talking to her?" 

25 The goddess replied: — 

Leela, hear what I will tell you in brief answer to your question regarding the life and death of this 
Leela as an image of yourself. 

26 It is your husband Padma, in the person of Viduratha, who beholds these illusions of the world 
spread before him in the same tomb. 27 He fought this battle which you saw in his imagination, and 
this Leela who resembles you (Viduratha's wife) was also a delusion. These his men and enemies 
were only illusions, and his ultimate death was as illusory as a phantom of the imagination, like all 
other things in this world. 28 It was his self delusion that showed him this Leela as his wife, and it is 
the same deceit of a dream that deludes you to believe that you are his wife. 29 It is merely a dream 
that makes both of you Leelas think yourselves as his wives. In the same way he dreams that he is your 
husband, and I also rely on my own existence. 

30 The world with all its beauty is said to be the image of a vision. When we know it to be merely a 
visionary scene, we must refrain from having any faith in the sights of this magic projection lantern. 

31 Thus this Leela, you, and this King Viduratha are only phantoms of your fancy. So am I, unless I 
believe to exist in the self-existent spirit. 32 The belief of the existence of this king and his people, and 
of ourselves as united in this place, proceeds from the fullness of that Consciousness which fills 

33 So this Queen Leela, also situated in this place with her youthful beauty and smiling so charmingly 
with her blooming face, is only an image of divine beauty. 34 See how gentle and graceful are her 
manners and how very sweet is her speech. Her voice is as sweet as the notes of the kokila 
nightingale, and her motions as slow as those of a lovelorn maiden. 35 Behold her eyelids are like the 
leaves of the blue lotus and her swollen breasts are rounded like a pair of snowballs. Her form is as 
bright as liquid gold and her lips are as red as a brace of ripe bimba fruit. 36 This is only a form of 
you as you desired to be to please your husband. It is the very figure of your own self that you now 
behold with wonder. 

37 After the death of your husband (Padma), his soul caught the same reflection of your image as you 

did desire to be hereafter, and which you now see in the person of the young Leela before you. 

38 Whenever the mind has a notion or sensation or fancy of some material object, the abstract idea of 
its image is surely imprinted in the intellect. 3 9 As the mind comes to perceive the unreality of 
material objects, it begins to entertain the ideas of their abstract entities within itself. 

40 It was Padma's thought of his sure death, his false conception of the transmigration of his soul in the 
body of Viduratha, and your desired form of a youthful Leela, the idol of his soul, that represented the 
youthful Leela to Padma. 41 He saw you and you saw him according to your desires. Thus both of you, 
although possessed of the same unvaried soul that pervades all space, are made to see one another 
according to your desires. 

42 The spirit of Brahma is all pervasive. It manifests itself in various ways in all places. It is seen in 
different light according to the varying fancies or tendencies of men like ever-changing scenes 
appearing in visions and dreams. 43 The omnipotent Spirit displays its various powers in all places. 
These powers exert themselves everywhere according to the strong force and capability it has infused 
in them. 

44 When this pair remained in their state of death-like lack of physical senses, they saw all these 
phantoms in their inner souls by virtue of their memories and desires. 45 That such and such persons 
were their fathers and such their mothers before, that they lived in such places, had such properties, 
and did such acts some time ago are all memories of the soul. 46 That they were joined together in 
marriage, and the multitudes they saw in their minds, appeared to them as realities for the time in their 

47 This is an example that shows our physical- sense perceptions to be no better than our dreams. It 
was in this deluded state of Leela's mind that she worshipped and prayed to me. 48 In order to confer 
the boon on her that she might not become a widow, and by virtue of my blessing, this girl died before 
her husband's death. 49 1 am the progeny of Brahma, and the totality of that intelligence in which all 
beings participate. It is for this reason that she adored me as the guardian divinity of all living beings. 

50 In the end her soul left her body through the orifice of her mouth and fled with her mind in the form 
of her vital breath. 5 1 Then, after the unconsciousness attendant upon her death was over, she 
understood in her consciousness that her individual soul was placed in the same empty space as the 
departed spirit of Padma. 52 In her memory she pictured herself in her youthful form and she saw 
herself as in a dream, situated in the same tomb. She was like a blooming lotus with her beautiful 
countenance, and her face was as bright as the orb of the moon. Her eyes were as large as those of an 
antelope, and she was attended by her graceful speech for the pleasure of her husband. 

Chapter 53 — The Second Leela Visits the Temple of Dead King Padma; Representations of 

Memory Are Not the Creations of Brahma 

1 Vasishta said: — 

The second Leela having obtained the blessing of the goddess, proceeded with her imagined body to 
meet her royal spouse in heaven beyond the skies. 2 Having assumed her spiritual form which was as 
light as air, she fled merrily like a bird and was blown aloft by the fond desire of joining her beloved 
lord. 3 She met a maiden sent by the goddess of wisdom issuing out of the best model of her heart's 
desire. 4 The maiden said, "I am the daughter of your friend Saraswati. I welcome you, O beautiful 
lady, to this place. I have been waiting and expecting you here on your way through the sky." 

5 Leela said, "Lead me, O lotus-eyed maid, to the side of my husband, as the visit of the good and 
great never goes for nothing." 

6 Vasishta said: — 

The maiden replied, "Come let us go there." So saying, she stood before her looking forward on her 
way. 7 Then both proceeding together onward, they came to the doorway of heaven which was as 
broad as the open palm of the hand and marked with lines like those read in palmistry. 8 They passed 
the region of the clouds and stepped over the currents of winds, then passing beyond the orbit of the 
sun, they reached the stations of the constellations. 9 From there they passed through regions of air and 
water to the worlds where gods and saints live, then they crossed over the worlds of Brahma, Vishnu 
and Shiva to the great circle of the universe. 10 Their spiritual bodies pierced through its opening like 
the humidity of ice water passes out of the pores of a tight water-jar. n Leela's body was of the form 
of her mind, which was of the nature of its own bent and tenor, and conceived these wanderings 
within itself. 

1 2 Having traversed the worlds of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and having crossed the limit of the 
manifest spheres and the environs of atmospheric water and air, 1 3 they found an empty space as 
spacious as the scope of the great Consciousness and impassable by the swift garuda even in millions 
of kalpa ages. 14 There they saw an infinity of shapeless and nameless worlds scattered about like 
countless fruit in a great forest. 15 They pierced through the circumference of one of these orbs before 
them and passed inside like a worm creeps inside a fruit that it has nibbled. 

1 6 This brought them back by the same worlds of Brahma, Indra and others to the orb of the globe 
below the starry skies. 17 Here they saw the same country, the same city and the same tomb as before. 
After entering the tomb, they sat beside the corpse of Padma covered under a heap of flowers. 

1 8 At this time Leela lost sight of the heavenly maiden (sent to accompany her) who had been her 
companion all this while, and who had now disappeared like a phantom of her illusion. 19 Then she 
looked at the face of her husband, lying as a dead body in his bed, and recognized him as such by her 
right discretion. 20 "This must be my husband," she thought. "Ah my very husband who fell fighting 
with Sindhu. Now he has attained this seat of departed heroes where he rests in peace. 21 By the grace 
of the goddess I have arrived here in person and reckon myself truly blessed to find my husband also 
as such." 22 Then she took a beautiful fan in her hand and began to wave it over his body like the moon 
moves in the sky over the earth. 

23 The waking, first Leela asked, "Tell me, O goddess, in what manner did the king and his servants 
and handmaids speak to this lady, and what did they think her to be?" 

24 The goddess replied: — 

It was by our gift of wisdom to them that this lady, that king and those servants found themselves to 
share in the one and same intellectual soul in which they all existed. 25 Every soul is a reflection of 
Divine Consciousness and is destined by his own fixed decree to represent individual souls to one 
another like refractions of the same, or like shadows in a magic show. 26 Thus the king received his 
wife as his companion and queen, and his servants as related with himself. 27 He saw the unity of his 
soul with hers and theirs, and no distinction existing between anyone of them He was astonished to 
find that there was nothing distinct in them from what he had in himself. 

28 The waking, first Leela said, "Why did not that Leela meet her husband in her own body according 
to her request and the boon that was granted to her?" 

29 The goddess replied: — 

It is not possible for unenlightened souls (such as that of the young Leela) to approach holy spirits in 
person. They are visible and accessible only to the deserving. They are unapproachable by gross 
bodies as sunlight is inaccessible by a shadow. 3 ° So the established law from the beginning of 
creation is that intelligent souls can never join with dull beings and gross matter, as truth can never be 
mixed with falsehood. 31 And so is that as long as a boy is prepossessed of his notion of a ghost, it is 
vain to try to convince him of the falsehood of demons as mere shadows of his imagination. 32 And as 
long as the feverish heat of ignorance rages within the soul, it is impossible for the coolness of the 
moon of intelligence to spread over it. 33 So long also as one believes himself composed of a physical 
body incapable of travel in the higher atmosphere, it is impossible to make him believe otherwise. 

34 By virtue of one's knowledge and discrimination, and by his own merit and divine blessing, one 
acquires a saintly form with which he ascends to the higher regions, as you have done with this body 
of yours. 35 As dry leaves of trees are burnt in no time by burning fire, so this physical body is quickly 
lost by one's assumption of his spiritual frame. 36 The effect of a blessing or curse on anyone is 
nothing else than his obtaining the state he desired or feared to have. 

37 As the false appearance of a snake in a rope is attended with no motion or action of the serpent, so 
the unreal views of Leela's husband and others were only the motionless images of her own 
imagination. 38 Whoever views the false apparitions of the dead as present before the vision of his 
mind, he must know them as reflections of his past and constant memories of them 39 So our notions 
of all these worlds are mere products of our memories. They are not any creation of Brahma or from 
any other cause but the simple productions of our desire. 

40 They who are ignorant of the knowable spirit of God have in them only the notions of the outer 
world as they view the distant orb of the moon within themselves. 

Chapter 54 — Divine Laws underlie Creation; Death as Reward; Life Durations 

1 The goddess continued: — 

Therefore, those who know the knowable God and rely upon virtue can go to spiritual worlds — not 
others. 2 All material bodies are false, the false conceptions of the mind. They can have no place in 
Truth, just like no shadow can have any room in sunshine. (So gross matter has no room in the subtle 
spirit.) 3 Young Leela, being ignorant of the knowable (God) and unacquainted with the highest virtue 
(the practice of yoga meditation), could go no further than the city of her lord which she had in her 

4 The waking Leela said, "Let her be where she is, but I will ask you about other things. You see here 
that my husband is about to die. Tell me, what must I now do? 5 Tell me the law of being and not 
being of beings, and about that destiny which destines living beings to death. 6 What determines the 
natures of things and gives existence to the categories of objects? What causes the warmth of fire and 
sun and gives stability to the earth? 7 Why is coldness confined to frost and the like, and what forms 
the essence of time and space? What are the causes of the different states of things and their various 
changes, and the causes of the solidity of some and minuteness of others? 8 What causes trees and men 
to be taller than grass and brambles, and why do many things dwindle and decay in the course and 
capability of growth?" 

9 The goddess said: — 

At the universal dissolution of the world, when all things are dissolved in the formless void, only the 
essence of Brahman remains in the form of infinite sky stretching on all sides beyond the limits of 
creation. 10 Then it reflects in its consciousness in the form of a spark of fire, as you are conscious of 
your aerial journey in a dream. n Then this atomic spark in the Divine Spirit increased in size, and 
having no substance of itself, appeared as what is commonly called the ideal world. 

12 The spirit of God thought itself as Brahma, the soul of the world, who reigned over it in his form of 
the mind, as if it was identical with the real world itself. 13 Whatever primary laws he appointed to 
all things at their first creation, they invariably continue in force with them to the present time. 14 The 
minds of all turn as willed by the Divine Mind. There is nothing which of itself can go beyond the law 
assigned to it by the Divine Will. 

15 It is improper to say that all formal existences are nothing because they remain in their substance 
(of the Divine Spirit) after their forms disappear, just like the substance of gold remains the same 
after its shape and form are altered. 16 The elementary bodies of fire and frost continue in the same 
state as when their elements were first formed in the Divine Mind in the beginning of creation. 
1 7 Therefore, as long as Divine Consciousness continues to direct his eternal laws and decrees 
appointed to all, nothing has the power to forsake its own nature. 18 It is impossible for anything to 
alter its nature from the eternal stamp that Divine Will has set upon all the substantial and ideal forms 
of creation. 19 As Divine Consciousness knows no opposition, it never turns from the tenor of its own 
wonted intelligence that directs the destinies of all. 

20 But know that in the first place, the world is not a created thing. All that appears to exist is only a 
display of the notions in our consciousness, like appearances in our dreams. 21 The unreal appears as 

real, just like the shadow seems to be of substance. Our notions of things are the properties of our 
nature. 22 The manner in which Consciousness exhibited itself in its different manifestations at the 
beginning, the same continues in its course to this time and is known as the manifestations of 
consciousness (samvid-kachana) or the course or system of the universe which constitute the niyati. 

23 The sky is the manifestation of the intellectual idea of emptiness in the Divine Mind. The idea of 
duration in Consciousness appeared in the form of the parts of time. 24 The idea of liquidity evolved 
itself in the form of water in the Divine Mind. In the same way one dreams of water and seas in his 
own mind. 

2 5 We are conscious of our dreams in some particular state of our consciousness, and it is the 
wonderfully cunning nature of consciousness that makes us think the unreal to be real. 26 The ideas of 
the reality of earth, air, fire and water are all false. Consciousness perceives them within itself as its 
false dreams and desires and daydreams. 

27 Now hear me tell you about death in order to remove your questions with regard to this future state. 
Death is destined for our good in that it leads us to the enjoyment of the fruits of acts in this life. 

28 Our lives are destined in the beginning to extend to one, two, three and four centuries in the 
different Kali, Dwapara, Treta and Satya ages (yugas) of the world. 29 However by virtue of place 
and time, of climate and food, and our good or bad actions and habits, human life extends above or 
descends below these limits. 30 Falling short of one's duties shortens life, as excelling in them 
lengthens its duration. Mediocre conduct keeps it within its proper bound. 

31 Children die by acts causing infant diseases and untimely deaths. The young and old die of acts that 
bring on juvenile and senile weakness, sickness and ultimate death. 32 He who goes on doing his 
duties as prescribed by scriptures becomes prosperous and enjoys the long life allotted by the rule of 
scriptures. 33 Likewise men meet their last state and future reward according to the nature of their acts 
in lifetime; or else their old age is subject to regret and remorse and all kinds of bodily and mental 
maladies and anxieties. 

34 Leela said, "Tell me in short, O moon- faced goddess, something more with regard to death. Is it a 
pleasure or pain to die? What becomes of us after we are dead and gone from here?" 

35 The goddess replied: — 

Dying men are of three kinds, and they have different ends upon their death. There are the ignorant, 
those practiced in yoga, and those who are reasonable and religious. 36 Those practicing dharana 
yoga (fixed concentration in meditation) may go wherever they like after leaving their bodies, and so 
the yogi of reason is at liberty to range everywhere. 37 He who has not practiced dharana yoga, or 
has not applied himself to reasoning, or entertains certain hopes for the future is called an ignorant sot 
and meets with the pain and pangs of death. 

38 He whose mind is not subdued and is full of desires, temporal cares and anxieties becomes as 
distressed as a lotus torn from its stalk. 39 The mind that is not guided by the precepts of the scriptures 
or purified by holiness but is addicted to the society of the wicked is subjected to the burning 
sensation of fire within itself at the moment of death. 40 At the moment when the last gurgling of the 
throat chokes the breath, eyesight is dimmed and the countenance fades away, then the rational soul 

also becomes hazy in its consciousness. 41 A deep darkness spreads over the dimming sight and stars 
twinkle before it in daylight. The sky appears to be hidden by clouds and presents a gloomy aspect on 
every side. 42 An acute pain seizes his entire body, and a mirage caused by witchcraft dances before 
his vision. The earth is turned into air and the dying person seems to be moving in midair. 4 3 The 
sphere of heaven revolves before him and the tide of the sea seems to bear him away. He is lifted up 
in the air, then hurled down as in his state of dizziness or dream 44 Now he thinks he is falling into a 
dark pit, and then he is lying in the cave of a hill. He wants to talk out loud about his torments, but his 
speech fails to utter his thoughts. 

45 Now he finds himself as if falling down from the sky, and now as whirled in the air like a bundle of 
straw blown aloft by a gust of wind. He is now riding swiftly as in a car, and now finds himself 
melting like snow. 46 He desires to tell his friends about the evils of life and this world, but he is 
carried away from them as rapidly as if by an air-engine. 47 He whirls about like a turning wheel and 
he is dragged along like a beast by its halter. He wallows about like in an eddy, or turns around as the 
machine of some engine. 48 He is borne like straw in the air and is carried about like a cloud in the 
wind. He rises high like vapor, then falls down like a heavy watery cloud pouring out into the sea. 
49 He passes through endless space and revolves in all of its vortices of emptiness to find, as it were, 
a place free from the ups and downs to which earth and ocean are subject. 50 Thus the rising and 
falling spirit wanders ceaselessly, and the soul breathing hard and sighing without break sets the 
whole body in sore pain and agony. 51 By degrees the objects of his senses become as faint to his 
failing organs as the landscape fades to view with the setting of the sun. 

52 At this moment, his memory fails and he loses memories of the past and present, like one is at a loss 
to know the sides of the compass after the evening twilight has passed away. 53 In his fainting fit, his 
mind loses its power of thinking. He is lost in a state of ignorance, the loss of all his thoughts and 
consciousness. 54 In this fainting state, the vital breath ceases to circulate through the body. When its 
circulation stops completely, a swoon into unconsciousness (murcha) follows. 55 When this state of 
unconscious paralysis combined with delirium has reached its climax, then by the law of inertia, 
ordained for living beings from the beginning, the body becomes as stiff as stone. 

56 Leela said, "But tell me, O goddess, why do these pains and agonies, this fainting and delirium, and 
disease and unconsciousness overtake the body, when it is possessed of all of its eight organs intact?" 

57 The goddess replied: — 

It is the law appointed by the Author of life from the first, that such and such pains are to fall as the lot 
of living beings at such and such times. 5 8 The primeval sin springs of itself like a plant in the 
conscious heart of man and subjects him to his doomed miseries which have no other intelligible 
cause. 59 When disease and its pain overpower the body and prevent lungs and arteries from 
expanding and contracting to inhale and exhale air, the body loses its equilibrium (samana) and 
becomes restless. 60 When inhaled air does not come out and exhaled breath does not re-enter the 
lungs, all pulsation is at a stop. Organic sensations are lost, remaining only in memory. 61 When vital 
air doe not enter or exit, the pulse sinks and becomes motionless. The body is said to become 
senseless, and life to be extinct. 

62 1 also shall die in my destined time, but all my consciousness of former knowledge will be awake 
at the hour of death. 63 Though I am dead and gone from here in this manner, yet I must mind that the 
seed of my innate consciousness (the soul) is never destroyed with my life and body. 
6 4 Consciousness is inner knowledge and is imperishable in its nature. Therefore the nature of 
consciousness is free from birth and death. 65 In some persons this consciousness is as clear as a fresh 
fountain; in others as foul as tide water. In some it is bright in its form of the pure intellect (chit); but 
in many in its nature of the sentient or individual soul (chetana), it is polluted with the passions of 
animal life. 

66 As a blade of grass has joints in the middle, so the nature of the sentient or individual soul is 
combined with the two states of birth and death amidst it. 67 The sentient soul is neither born nor dead 
at anytime, but witnesses these two states as the passing shadows and apparitions in a dream and 
vision. 68 The soul is nothing other than consciousness which is never destroyed anywhere by 

Say, what other thing is this soul called purus ha besides consciouness itself? 69 Tell me then, who 
and what are you calling dead today? Is consciousness subject to disease or death at anytime and in 
any form? Truly millions of living bodies are dying every day, but consciousness always remains 
imperishable. 7 ° Consciousness never dies at the death of any living being because the entire 
individual soul continues the same upon the death of everybody here. 

71 Therefore, the individual soul is nothing more than the principle which is conscious of its various 
desires, affections and passions. It is not that principle to which men attribute the phases of life and 
death. 72 So there is none that dies and no one is born at anytime. It is this only living principle that 
continually revolves in the deep eddy of its desires. 7 3 Considering the unreality of visible 
phenomena, there can be no desire for them in anyone. But the inner soul that is led by its egoism and 
believes them to be true is subject to death at the disappearance of phenomena. 

74 The recluse ascetic flying from the fears of the world as foreign to his soul, and having none of its 
false desires rising in his breast, becomes liberated in his life and assimilated with the true One. 

Chapter 55 — Categories of Death Experiences; Origin of Illusion 

1 Leela said, "Tell me, goddess, for edification of my knowledge, how does a living come to die and 
is reborn in another form?" 

2 The goddess replied: — 

As the action of the heart ceases and the lungs blow and breathe no more, the current of vital airs is 
utterly stopped and the living being loses its consciousness. 3 But the intellectual soul, which has no 
rise or fall, remains ever the same as it abides in all moving and unmoving bodies, and in air, water, 
fire and vacuum 4 When the breathing, pulse and motion of the body stop, it is said to be dead and is 
then called an inert corpse. 5 The body being a dead carcass and the vital breath having mixed with 
the air, the soul is freed from the bonds of its desires. It flies to and remains in the mode of the 
discrete and self-existent soul. 

6 The individual soul, called the animal spirit (jiva), has its desires and is other than the atman (soul). 
It remains in its burial tomb under the same atmosphere as the soul of Padma, which you saw hovering 
about his tomb. 7 Hence such departed spirits are called ghosts of the dead (pretas). They have their 
desires and earthly propensities attached to them, just like the fragrance of the flower is concentrated 
in its pollen and thence diffused through the air. 

8 As animal souls are removed to other spheres, after their departure from this visible world, they 
view the very many scenes and sights that their desires present before them like visions in a dream. 

9 The soul continues to remember all its past adventures, even in its next state, and finds itself in a 
new body soon after the unconsciousness of death is over. 

10 What appears an empty vacuum to others seems as a dusky cloud to the departed soul, enveloping 
the earth, sky, moon and all other orbs within its bosom. 

11 Departed spirits are classed in six orders, as you shall now hear from me. These are the great, 
greater and greatest sinners, and likewise the three degrees of the virtuous. 1 2 These are again 
subdivided into three kinds, some belonging to one state and others composed of two or three states in 
the same individual soul. 

1 3 Some of the most sinful souls lose the memory of their past states for a period of a whole year. 
They remain quite unconscious within themselves, like blocks of wood or stone. 14 Rising after this 
time, they are doomed to suffer the endless torments of hell which the hardness of their earthly 
mindedness has brought upon them. 15 Then they pass into hundreds of births leading from misery to 
misery, or have a moment's respite from the pains in their short lived prosperity, amidst their 
dreaming journey through life. 

16 There are others who, after their numbness of death is over, come to suffer the unutterable torments 
of sluggishness in the state of unmoving trees. 17 And others again who having undergone the torments 
of hell, according to their inordinate desires in life, are brought to be reborn on earth in a variety of 
births in different forms. 

1 8 Those of lesser crimes, are made to feel the inertness of stones for sometime, after the 
unconsciousness attending upon their death. 19 These awakened to consciousness after some time, 

whether long or short, are made to return on earth to feel the evils of brutish and beastly lives. 

20 But the souls of the least sinful, soon after their death, come to assume some perfect human form in 
order to enjoy the fruits of their desire and reward on earth. 21 These desires appear before the soul as 
dreams and awaken its reminiscence of the past as present at that moment. 

22 Again the best and most virtuous souls, soon after their death, come to find themselves in heavenly 
abodes by reason of their continued thoughts and speculations of them. 2 3 Some among them are 
brought to enjoy the rewards of their actions in other spheres, from which they are sent back to the 
mortal world, at the homes of the auspicious and best part of mankind. 

2 4 Those of moderate virtues are blown away by the atmospheric air upon the tops of trees and 
medicinal plants where they rove about as protozoa after the unconsciousness of death is over. 

25 Being nourished here by the juice of fruits, they descend in the form of serum and enter into the 
hearts of men, from where they fall into the uterus in the form of virile semen, which is the cause of 
the body and life of other living beings. 

26 Thus the dead, after they recover from the collapse attending upon their death, make themselves into 
one of these states of living bodies according to their natural tendency. 2 7 At first they think 
themselves extinct, then they come to feel resuscitated upon receiving offerings of the food made to 
their departed spirits. 28 Then they fancy seeing the messengers of death, with nooses in their hands, 
come to fetch them to the realm of Yama, and they depart with them 

29 There the righteous are carried in heavenly cars to the Nandana gardens of paradise which they gain 
by their meritorious acts in life. 30 But the sinful soul meets with icebergs and pitfalls, is tangled with 
thorns and iron pikes and bushes and brambles in its passage as punishment for its sins. 31 Those of 
the middling class have a clear and paved passage, with soft grassy pathways shaded by cooling 
trees, and supplied with spring waters on both sides of them. 32 On its arrival there, the soul reflects 
within itself that, "Here am I, and yonder is Yama, the lord of the dead. The other is the judge of our 
actions, Chitragupta, and this is his judgment given on my behalf." 33 In this manner also, the great 
world appears to every one as in a dream. And so the nature and manner of all things present 
themselves before every soul. 

34 But all these appearances are as empty as air. The soul alone is the sentient principle, and vast 
space and time and the modes and motions of things, though they appear as real, are in reality nothing. 

35 Here in Yama' s court, the soul is pronounced to reap the reward of its acts, whereby it ascends 
either to the blissful heaven above or descends to the painful hell below. 36 After having enjoyed the 
bliss of heaven or suffered the torment of hell, the soul is doomed to wander in this earth again to reap 
the reward of its acts in repeated reincarnations. 

3 7 The soul springs up like a paddy plant and brings forth the grains of intelligence. Then, being 
assembled by the senses, it becomes an animal, and lastly an intelligent being. 38 The soul contains in 
itself the germs of all its senses which lie dormant in it for lack of its bodily organs. It is contained in 
man's virile semen which, passing into the uterus, produces the fetus in the womb of the female. 
39 The fetus then becomes either well-formed or deformed, according to the good or evil deeds of the 
person in its past state, and brings forth the infant of a good or ill shaped appearance. 40 It then 

perceives the moonlike beauty of youthful bloom, and its amorous disposition comes upon itself. 
Afterwards it feels the effects of hoary old age, defacing its lotus-like face like the sleets of snow 
shatter and shrivel the lotus leaflets. 41 At last it undergoes the pains of disease and death and feels the 
same lack of physical senses at of death as before, and finds itself again as in a dream taking on a new 
form. 42 It again believes itself to be carried to the region of Yama, and subjected to the former kinds 
of revolution. Thus it continues to conceive its reincarnation in endless births and various forms. 

43 Thus forever in its own ethereal sphere, the aerial spirit goes on thinking about all its ceaseless 
reincarnations until its final liberation from this ever changing state. 

44 Leela said, "Tell me kindly, O good goddess, for the enlightenment of my understanding, how did 
this misconception of its changeableness first come upon the soul in the beginning?" 

45 The goddess replied: — 

The dense appearance of the abstract causes us to assume the discrete spirit in the concrete forms of 
the earth and sky and rocks and trees. 46 As Divine Consciousness manifests itself as the soul and 
model of all forms, so we see these manifestations in the transcendental sphere of its pure 

47 In the beginning, God conceived himself as the lord of creation (Brahma). Then, as it were in a 
dream, he saw in himself all the forms as they continue to this time. 48 These forms were manifested in 
the Divine Spirit, at first as his will, and then reflected and exhibited in the phenomenal world in all 
their present forms. 49 Among these some are called living beings which are able to move their bodies 
and limbs and live by means of the air they breathe and circulate in their bodies through lungs and 

50 Such also is the creation of plant life. They have their inner sensitivity, although devoid of outward 
motion, and they receive their sustenance from their roots. 5 1 The hollow sphere of the Divine 
Intellect, beaming with intelligence, sends forth its particles of perception which form the 
consciousness of some beings and sensitivity in others. 

52 But man uses his eyes to view the outer and the reflected world, although the eyes do not form his 
individual soul, nor did they exist at his creation or before his birth. 

53 It is according to one's estimation of himself that he has his proper and peculiar desires, and also 
the particular form of his body. Such also is the case of the elemental bodies, from their inner 
conception of their peculiar natures. 54 Thus all moving and unmoving things have their movable and 
immovable bodies according to their intrinsic disposition or idiosyncrasy as such and such. 55 Hence 
all self- moving beings have their movable bodies conforming to the conception of their natures as so 
and so. And in this state of their belief, they continue to this time with their same inborn or congenital 

56 The vegetable world still continues in the same state of fixedness from its sense of immobility. And 
so rocks and minerals continue in their inert state from the inborn sense of their inertness. 57 There is 
no distinction whatever between inertness and intelligence, nor any difference between production, 
continuance and extinction of things. All occurs in one common essence of the Supreme. 5 8 The 
varying characteristics existing in plants and minerals make them feel themselves as such and cause 

their various natures and forms as they have to this time. 59 The inner constitution of all immovable 
objects makes them remain in their stationary states; likewise for all other substances, according to 
their different names and natures. 60 Thus the inner constitution or quality of worms and insects makes 
them conceive themselves according to their different kinds and gives them their particular natures 

61 So the people under the north pole know nothing about those in the south other than what they know 
of themselves. 62 So also all kinds of moving and unmoving beings are prepossessed with their own 
notions of things and regard all others according to their own peculiar self-concepts. 63 Again, as the 
inhabitants of caves know nothing of their outsiders, and as frogs in dirty pools are unacquainted with 
the pure water of streams, so is one sort of being ignorant of the nature of another. 

64 But empty consciousness, residing in the form of the all pervasive mind and all sustaining air, 
knows the natures of all things in all places. 65 The moving principle is the vital air that enters all 
bodies through their pores and which gives life and motion to all living beings. 66 Truly the mind is 
situated in all things, whether they are moving or immovable. And so is the air, which causes motion 
in some and stillness in others. 67 Thus all things in this world of illusion are only the rays of the 
conscious soul, continuing in the same state as they have from the beginning. 

68 1 have told you everything about the nature of things in the world and how unrealities come to 
appear as real unto us. 

69 Look, here this King Viduratha is about to breathe his last, and the garlands of flowers heaped on 
the corpse of your husband Padma are now being hung upon the breast of Viduratha. 

70 Leela said, "Tell me goddess, how did Viduratha enter Padma's tomb? How can we also enter to 
see what he is doing there?" 

71 The goddess said: — 

Man goes to all places by the way of his desires, even thinking that he goes to a distant future, in the 
spiritual form of pure consciousness. 72 We shall go the same way, as you like, because the bond of 
our friendship makes no difference in our choice and desires. 

73 Vasishta said: — 

Princess Leela was relieved of her pain by what Goddess Saraswati had explained. Her intellectual 
sight was brightened by the blazing sun of spiritual light. She saw the unconscious and unmoving 
Viduratha breathe out his final breath. 

Chapter 56 — State of the Soul after Death; Ancestor Worship & Benefits to the Dead 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

In the meantime the king's eyeballs became convoluted, and his lips and cheeks and entire face grew 
pale and dry. There remained only the slender breath of life in him. 2 His body became as lean as a 
dry leaf, and his face turned as ghastly as the figure of death. His throat gurgled like the hoarsest 
beetles and his lungs breathed with a bated breath. 3 His sight was darkened upon the unconsciousness 
of death and his hopes were buried in the pit of despair. The sensations of his external organs were 
hidden within the cavity of his heart. 4 His figure was as senseless as a picture in painting and all his 
limbs were as motionless as those of a statue carved from a block of marble. 5 What need is there of a 
lengthier description when it may be said in short that his life quitted his body, like a bird flies far 
away from a falling tree? 

6 The two ladies, with their divine eyesight, saw his animal spirit in its aerial form flying upwards in 
the sky and his consciousness disappearing like the odor of a flower blown by the wind. 7 His 
individual soul being joined with its spiritual body began to fly higher and higher in the air as it was 
led by its inner desire or expectation of ascending to heaven. 

8 The two ladies kept following that conscious soul, like a couple of female bees pursuing a particle 
of perfume borne afar in the air on the wings of the wind. 9 Then, in a moment after the fainting fit of 
death was over, the conscious soul was roused from its unconsciousness like some fragrance 
expanding itself with the breeze. 10 It saw the porters of death carrying away the souls of the dead that 
had resumed their grosser forms from the food offered by their kinsmen during ancestor-worship 
rituals. n After a long year's journey on the way, it reached the distant abode of Yama with the hope 
of reaping the reward of its acts, but found the gate guarded by beasts of prey. 

12 Yama, on seeing the departed spirit of everybody brought before him, demanded to know all its foul 
acts committed during its lifetime. 13 On finding the prince's spirit spotless, ever inclined to virtuous 
acts and nourished by the grace of the goddess of wisdom, 14 he ordered it to be released. The spirit 
re-entered its former dead body that lay buried under the flowers in the tomb. 15 It was then allowed 
to fly in the ethereal path with the swiftness of a stone shot from a sling. The living Leela and the 
goddess followed in the air. 

16 The individual soul of the king sailing through the sky did not see the forms of the two ladies who 
followed it, though they saw it all along its course. 1 7 They passed through many worlds and soon 
passed beyond the bounds of the extra-mundane systems until they arrived at the solar world from 
where they descended to this earth. 

18 The two self-willed forms of Leela and the goddess followed the individual soul of King Padma 
and arrived at his royal city where they entered Leela's apartment. 19 In a trice and of their own free 
will, they entered the palace of King Padma like air passes in flowers and the sunbeams penetrate 
water and odors mix with air. 

20 Rama asked, "How was it sage, that they entered into the abode adjoining to the tomb, and how 
could they find the way to it? One had been dead a long time, and all three were bodiless emptiness." 

21 Vasishta replied: — 

The tomb of the king's dead body, being impressed on his soul and the object of its desire, led his 
spirit insensibly to it, as if by its inborn instinct. 

22 Who does not know that the endless desires in the human breast, like countless fig seeds, grow up 
in time to become big trees? 23 Just as the living body bears its seed, the subtle body (linga deha) in 
the heart that germinates and in the end grows into a tree, so every particle of the intellect bears the 
material seed in itself. 24 As a man placed in a far distant land sees his own house within himself, so 
the soul sees the objects of his distant desires ever present before it. 25 The individual soul always 
longs after the best objects of its desire, even though it may undergo a hundred births and become 
subject to the errors and delusions of his senses and of this illusory world. 

26 Rama replied, "There are many persons who are free from desire to receive funeral cakes. Now 
tell me, sage, what becomes of those souls who get no cake offering at their ancestor worship 

27 Vasishta replied: — 

A man having the desire settled in his heart to receive food offerings, and thinking it to be offered to 
him, is surely benefitted by its offering. 28 Whatever is in the heart and mind, the same notions form 
the nature of living beings. Whether these are in their corporeal or incorporeal states, they think 
themselves as such beings and no other. 2 9 The thought of having received the pinda cake (cake 
offered at ashradh ancestor worship ritual) makes a man sapinda (ancestors to the sixth degree), 
though it is not actually offered to him On the other hand, the thought of not being served with the 
cake makes a sapinda become a nispinda. 

30 It is truly the desire of all living beings to be whatever they have in their hearts, and that is the 
cause of their becoming so in reality. 31 It is a man's thought that makes poison taste like nectar, and it 
is his very thought that makes an untruth seem as truth to him 32 Know this for certain, that no thought 
ever rises in anyone without some cause or other. Therefore, the desire or thought that is inherent in 
the spirit is the sole cause of its regeneration on earth. 33 Nobody has ever seen or heard of any event 
occurring without its proper cause; except the being of the Supreme Being which is the causeless 
cause of all beings from their state of not-being into being. 

34 Desire is inherent in consciousness, like a dream in the soul. Desire appears in the form of acts, as 
the Will of God is manifested in his works of creation. 

35 Rama said, "How can a spirit that is conscious of its faults foster any desire for its future good? 
How can it benefit from others' pious works for its salvation? 36 Tell me also whether the pious acts 
of others, offered to ancestors, go for nothing. Do the good wishes of others have any effect on the 
future prospects of an undeserving ghost?" 

37 Vasishta said: — 

A desire naturally arises in its proper time and place and by application of appropriate acts and 
means. The rising of the desire necessarily overcomes its absence. 38 Pious gifts made for the sake of 
departed souls accrue to them as their own acts. It gives them a sense of worthiness and fills them 

with better hopes and desires for their future state. 

39 Just like the stronger man gains the better of his adversary, so the later acts of piety drive away the 
former impiety from the spirit. Therefore the constant practice of pious acts is strictly encouraged in 
the scriptures. 

4 ° Rama said, "If the desire arises in its proper time and place, then how could it arise in the 
beginning when there was no time or place? 41 You say that there are accessory causes that give rise 
to desires, but how could the will arise in the first place without any accessory cause whatever?" 

42 Vasishta replied: — 

It is true, O long-armed Rama, that there was neither time nor place in the beginning when the Spirit 
of God was without its will. 43 And there being no accessory cause, there was not even the idea of the 
visible world, nor was it created or brought into existence. It is so even now. 

4 4 The phenomenal world has no existence. All that is visible is the manifestation of Divine 
Consciousness which is everlasting and imperishable. 45 Later I will explain this to you in a hundred 
different ways, and it is my main purpose to do so, but now hear now tell you what relates to the 
matter under consideration. 

46 Having arrived in that house, they saw its inside beautifully decorated with garlands of flowers as 
fresh as those of the spring season. 47 The palace residents were quietly employed in their duties, and 
the king's corpse was placed upon a bed of mandara andkunda flowers. 48 Wreaths of the same 
flowers were strewn over the sheet that covered the body and there were the auspicious pots of water 
placed bedside. 49 The doors of the room were closed and the windows were shut fast with their 
latches. Lamps cast a dim light on the white washed walls and the corpse was lying as a man in sleep 
with the suppressed breathing of his mouth and nostrils. 

50 There was the bright full moon shining with her delightful luster, and the beauty of the palace would 
make Indra's paradise blush. It was as charming as the center of the lotus of Brahma's birthplace, and 
it was as silent as dumbness or a dummy itself, and as beautiful as the fair moon in her fullness. 

Chapter 57 — Yogis' Astral Bodies; Phenomena of Dreaming 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

There they saw the younger Leela of Viduratha who had arrived there after her death and before the 
death of that king. 2 She was in her former habit and mode with the same body, and the same tone and 
tenor of her mind. She was also as beautiful in all her features as in her former graceful form and 
figure when living. 3 She was the same in every part of her body and wore the same clothes as before. 
She had the same ornaments on her body, with the difference that it was sitting quietly in the same 
place, and not moving about as before. 

4 She kept waving her pretty fan over the king's corpse, gracing the ground below like the rising moon 
brightening the skies above. 5 She sat quietly, reclining her moonlike face on the palm of her left hand. 
Decorated with shining gems, she appeared like a bed of flowers blooming with new blossoms. 
6 With glances from her beautiful eyes, she shed showers of flowers on all sides. The brightness of 
her body shone with the beams of the ethereal moon. 7 She approached her lord of men like Goddess 
Lakshmi appears before God Vishnu, and with the heaps of flowers around her, she looked like 
Vasanta Lakshmi (Lakshmi in the aspect of the blissful Goddess of Spring). 8 Her eyes were fixed on 
her husband's face as if she was pondering his future well-being. Thoughts of his present sorrowful 
state spread a melancholy over her face like that of the waning moon. 

9 They saw the maiden who was unable to see them. Their trust was in truth, so they saw everything 
clearly, while her views being otherwise, she could not discern their spiritual forms. 

10 Rama said, "You have said, O sage, that the first Leela had returned there in her fancy and spiritual 
form, by the favor of the goddess of wisdom. n Why do you now describe her as having a body? I 
want to know how it came to her." 

12 Vasishta replied: — 

Rama, what is this body of Leela? It is no more true than a false imagination of her gross spirit, like 
that of water in the mirage. 1 3 It is spirit alone that fills the world, and all bodies are creations of 
fancy. This spirit is the Intellect of God, and full of joy in itself. 

14 The same understanding which Leela had of herself at her end accompanied her to her future state. 
The same notion of her body followed her there, even though the body itself was reduced to dust, like 
ice melted in water. l 5 Spiritual bodies are also sometimes liable to fall into error and think 
themselves to be material bodies, just like we mistake a rope for the serpent. 

16 The belief in anyone's materiality, composed of earth and other elements, is as false as believing 
rabbits have horns on their heads. 17 Whoever thinks he has become a stag in his dream has no need to 
seek another stag so that he can compare himself with it. 18 An untruth appears as truth at one time and 
disappears at another, just like the error of a snake in a rope vanishes upon the knowledge of its 
falsehood. l 9 So the knowledge of the reality of all things in the minds of the unenlightened is 
dispersed in the minds of the enlightened upon conviction of their unreality. 20 But the ignorant who 
have a belief in the reality of this world of dreams also believe in the reincarnation of the animal 
soul, like the revolution of the world on its own axis. 

21 Rama asked, "If the bodies of yogis are of a spiritual nature, how is it that they are seen walking 
about in the sight of men?" 

22 Vasishta replied: — 

A yogi may take various forms upon himself without the destruction of his former body, like the 
human soul in a dream may deem itself transformed into a stag or any other being without undergoing 
any change in its spiritual essence. 23 A yogi's spiritual body is invisible to all, although he may make 
it appear as visible to their sight. It is like particles of frost seen in sunbeams, and like the appearance 
of a white spot in autumn sky. 

24 Nobody can easily discern the features of a yogi's body, nor are they discernible by other yogis. 
They are as imperceptible as the features of a bird flying in the air. 25 It is from the error of judgment 
that men think some yogis are dead and others living, but their spiritual bodies are never subject to 
death or common sight. 26 The embodied soul is subject to errors from which the souls of yogis are 
free because their knowledge of truth has cleansed the mistake of a snake in the rope from their souls. 

27 What is this body and from where does it come? What is its existence or destruction? What is 
lasting remains forever and is freed from the ignorance it had before. 

28 Rama said, "Does the embodied soul takes a spiritual form or is it something else? Tell me this and 
remove my doubt." 

29 Vasishta said: — 

I have told you this repeatedly, my good Rama! How is it that you do not understand it yet? There 
exists only the spiritual body and the material form is nothing. 

30 It requires a habit of constant meditation in order to know your spiritual state and subdue your sense 
of materiality. As you abstain from your sense of materiality, so you attain the spiritual state. 31 Then 
there will be an end of your sense of gravity and solidity of objects, like the visions of a dreaming 
man disappear when he awakens. 

32 The body of a yogi becomes as light and subtle as the impermanent appearances in a dream. 33 In 
his dreaming rambles, a man feels the lightness of his body. Similarly, a yogi finds his solid body is 
able to fly in all places like air. 34 The expectation of the long life of a master in his material body is 
realized in the spiritual one, after the corpse has been burnt away. 3 5 Everyone must assume his 
spiritual frame afterwards, but the yogi finds it in his lifetime by the enlightenment of his 
consciousness. 36 As a man upon waking from sleep remembers having an intellectual form in his 
dream state, so the yogi is conscious of his spiritual body in his own intellect. 

37 The notion of the physical body is a mere fallacy, like that of the snake in a rope. Therefore nothing 
is lost by the loss of this body, nor is anything gained by its production and regeneration. 

38 Rama said, "Now tell me sage, what did the palace residents think the second Leela to be? Did they 
see her as an embodied being or a bodiless apparition appearing before them?" 

39 Vasishta answered: — 

They took the sorrowful queen to be some friend of the king, having come from some place they knew 

not what or where. 40 They did not like to examine the matter because it is the nature of the ignorant, 
like that of brutes, to believe what they see without investigation or consideration of its nature. 

41 As a stone flung at random flies off from its mark, so brutish and ignorant folks go astray from 
hitting the true mark of a thing placed before them. 42 We know not what becomes of the objects of our 
dream, or where they go when we awaken. Such is the case with our material bodies that are as false 
and fleeting as our delusive dreams. 

43 Rama said, "Tell me sage, where does a hill that we dream of hide upon our waking? Kindly 
remove my doubt like the wind disperses the clouds of autumn." 

44 Vasishta said: — 

All things that appear in dream or reside in our desires, such as a hill or the like, are absorbed in the 
consciousness from where they sprang, just like the motion of bodies subsides in the air that gives 
them vibration. 45 As the motion of the air mixes with the fixed ether, so dreams and desires set in the 
unchanging soul from where they arose. 

46 Our dreams, like our knowledge of all other things, are made known to us by our consciousness, the 
nature of which is as unknown to us as that of the inner soul. 47 We do not find our dreams or desires 
to be distinct from our awareness of them. They appertain to it in the same way as fluidity to water 
and motion to air. 48 Whatever difference may appear to exist between dreams and our awareness of 
them is the effect of sheer ignorance. This gross ignorance is the characteristic of this world known as 
the phantom of fancy. 49 It is impossible to conceive of two co-eternal and co-existent causes together, 
so it is wrong to suppose the dream as a distinct existence or anything other than an act of our 

50 There is no difference whatever between the dreaming and waking states. In dream we see a false 
city appearing to view. In waking you behold the unreal world standing as a reality before you. 

51 Nothing can be truly existent that appears as true in a dream. This being always true of what is seen 
in a dream, it is likewise so of external phenomena that we see in our daydreams. 52 As a hill in a 
dream immediately disappears into airy nothing, so the material world sooner or later disappears into 
nothing by thinking on its nothingness. 

53 Some see a yogi arising in the air; others as a dead body lying on the ground. This is according to 
one's belief in his spiritual or material body. Every one sees him in his own way. 

54 The view of the phenomenal world as distinct from the Unity is as false as a seeing a delusion or a 
magic show, or a dream or delirium of the great illusion. 55 Others who are blinded by similar errors, 
after being awakened from cessation of physical senses at death, entertain the notion of their 
reproduction as in a dream But the spiritual body of the yogi shines and soars upward, after passing 
over the mirage of the false appearances of the world. 

Chapter 58 — The Two Leelas See Padma Revived 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

Meantime, the goddess of wisdom stopped the course of Viduratha's life, like we stop the flight of our 
minds at will. 

2 Leela said, "Tell me, goddess, how much time has lapsed since the corpse of the king was laid in 
this tomb, and I was absorbed in my deep meditation?" 

3 The goddess replied: — 

A month has passed since these your maid servants have been waiting here watching your body, 
which they thought lay asleep in the room 4 Hear, excellent lady, what has become of your body after 
a fortnight when it became rotten and evaporated in the air. 5 Seeing your lifeless corpse, as cold as 
frost lying on the ground and turning as dry as a log of wood, or rather as a withered leaf on the floor, 
6 the royal ministers thought you had committed suicide and removed your putrid carcass out of the 
room 7 What more shall I say than they laid your corpse on a heap of sandalwood and, having set fire 
to the pile with a sprinkling of ghee, they quickly reduced it to ashes. 

8 Then the family raised a loud cry that their queen was dead. They wept bitterly for sometime, after 
which they performed your funeral ceremonies. 9 Now when they will see you coming here in your 
same body, they must be astonished and think that you have returned from the next world of the dead. 
1 ° Now my daughter, when you appear before them in this your purer and spiritual form, they must 
look upon you with astonishment. n For you have not your former form at present, but it is changed to 
a purer one, agreeably to the desire and temperament of your mind. 12 For everyone sees everything 
outside himself according to his inner feelings as, for example, the sight of shadowy ghosts is frequent 
to children who have a fear of devils at heart. 

13 Now, O beautiful lady! You are an adept in spiritualism and you have a spiritual body on you. You 
have forgotten and forsaken your former body and all the desires coexisting with it. 14 Those who see 
spirit do not see material bodies. Their intelligent view is to see material bodies in the light of autumn 
clouds which are void of substance. l 5 Upon attainment of the spiritual state, the material body 
becomes like an empty cloud, or like a flower without its fragrance. 16 When a man of pure desire is 
conscious of his attainment of the spiritual state, he loses the memory of his material body, like a 
youth forgets his embryonic state. 

1 7 It is now the thirty-first day that we have arrived at this place, and I have caused these maid 
servants to fall into a deep sleep this morning. 18 Now Leela, let us go before the willful Leela and 
use our will to let her discover the form of the truthful Leela and see how she behaves towards you. 

19 Vasishta said: — 

So saying, they wished themselves to be perceived by the willful Leela, and stood before her in their 
ethereal forms of goddess and her inspired dame. 20 At this instant, the Leela of Viduratha looked at 
them with staring eyes and found the room lighted up by the full luster of their bodies. 2 l The 
apartment seemed to be lighted by the bright orb of the moon, and its wall seemed washed with liquid 
gold. The ground floor shone as if paved with ice, and all was full of splendor. 

22 After seeing the brightness of the bed chamber, Leela looked up at the goddess and the other Leela 
and rising respectfully before them, she fell at their feet. 23 "Be victorious, O ye goddesses!" she said. 
"You have blessed me with your visit. You who know all, know that I have come here first to prepare 
your way." 24 As she was speaking this way, they received her with good grace, and then all three in 
their youthful bloom sat together on bedding, like luxuriant vines on the snow capped peak of Mount 

25 The goddess said, "Daughter, tell us how you came here before us. How you have been, and what 
you have seen on your way here?" 

26 The younger Leela answered, "As I lay unconscious on that spot, upon the shock of my death, I was 
enveloped in darkness like the new moon and I felt myself burned away by the flame of the funeral 
fire. 27 1 had no sense or thought of anything good or bad, but remained with my eyes closed under my 
eyelids. 28 Then immediately after I had recovered from my trance of death, O great goddess, I found 
myself assuming (by mistake a new body agreeably to my former impression) and moving into the 
midst of the sky." 

2 9 "I mounted on the vehicle of winds and was borne like fragrance to this mansion through the 
ethereal space. 30 1 found this house guarded by its warders and lighted with lamps, having a costly 
bedstead placed in midst of it. 31 1 am looking upon this corpse, my husband Viduratha, who has been 
sleeping here with his body covered under flowers like the spring god in a flower garden. 32 1 thought 
he was taking his rest after the fatigue of the warfare and I did not want to disturb his repose in this 
place. 33 1 have now related to you, my gracious goddesses, all that I have seen and thought of since I 
have been restored to my new life." 

34 The goddess spoke, "Now I tell you Leela, who has such beautiful eyes and moves like a swan, that 
I will raise the corpse of the king to life from his bed." 35 Saying so, she breathed the breath of life 
like the lotus lets off its fragrance. It fled into the nostrils of the carcass like a creeping plant crawls 
into a hole. 36 It entered into the heart through the vital sheath, as wind penetrates into the hole of 
bamboo. The breath of life was filled with desires, like the waves of the sea sparkle with pearls. 

37 The infusion of life added color of the face and body of King Padma like rainwater refreshes the 
fading lotus in a drought. 38 By degrees the members of the body became renovated, like a garden with 
its returning flowering season, and like the sides of a hill become green with fresh grown bushes and 
vines. 39 The body of the king shone like the queen of the stars with all her digits of the full moon 
when she enlightens the whole world with the beams of her radiant face. 40 All his limbs became as 
tender and dewy as the branches of trees in spring. They regained their bright and golden color like 
the flowers of the spring season. 4 1 He opened his eyes which were as clear as the sky, their two 
pupils rolling like two orbs of light enlightening the world with their charming and auspicious beams. 

42 He raised his body, as if Vmdhya Mountain was uplifting its head, and cried with a grave and 
hoarse voice, "Who waits there?" 

43 The two Leelas responded saying, "Your commands." He saw the two Leelas in attendance upon 
him, humbly bending themselves at his feet. 44 Both were of the same form and features and of like 
demeanor and deportment towards him. They were alike to one another in their voice and action, as in 

their joy and gladness at his rising. 

45 Then looking at them he asked, "What are you and who is she?" 

At this the elder Leela responded, "Please hear what I have to say. 46 1 am Leela, your former consort. 
I was joined with you as two in one, as sounds and their senses are combined together. 47 The other 
Leela is only a reflection of me, cast by my free will for your service." 

48 "The lady sitting here beside the bed is the goddess of wisdom, the blessed Saraswati and mother 
of the three worlds. Set her on the golden seat before you. 49 It is by virtue of our great merit that she 
has presented herself to our sight and brought us back from other worlds to your presence in this 

50 Hearing this, the lotus-eyed king rose from his seat and with wreaths of flowers and a strap of cloth 
hung about his neck, he prostrated himself at her feet. 5 l He exclaimed, "I hail you, O divine 
Saraswati who does confer all blessings on mankind. Please confer on me the blessings of 
understanding and riches with a long life." 

52 As he was saying so, the goddess touched him with her hand and said, "My son, be possessed of 
your desired blessings and gain your blessed abode in future. 53 Let all evils and evil thoughts be far 
from you, and all your discomforts be dispersed from this place. Let an everlasting joy descend in 
your hearts and a great population fill your happy realm. May all prosperity attend on you forever." 

Chapter 59 — Padma & Two Leelas Live Out Their Liberated Lives 

1 Vasishta said: — 

"Be it so," said Saraswati and disappeared into the air, and people awoke that morning with their 
king restored to life. 2 Padma embraced the reborn Leela, who embraced him in her turn They were 
exceedingly glad in their coming to life again. 

3 The palace was filled with loud shouts of joy like those of giddy revelry. Citizens were full of mirth 
and merry, song and music. 4 Shouts of victory and sounds of cheers and joys resounded in the air. 
People elated with joy thronged at the royal courtyard to see their king. 5 The spirits of the masters 
and demigod vidyadharas dropped flowers from above, and the sound of drums, kettles, trumpets and 
conches resounded on all sides. 6 Outside, elephants roared aloud with uplifted trunks. Crowds of 
women filled the inner courtyard with loud rejoicing. 7 Men bearing presents for the king fell upon 
one another at their mutual clashing. Others wearing flowery garlands on their heads and hairs moved 
gracefully all about. 8 Red turbans of joy on the heads of chiefs and a host of citizens, and the waving 
of the reddish palms of dancing girls, filled the sky with a bed of red lotuses. 9 The ground also was 
strewn with rosy flowers, by foot- falls of dancers with their reddish soles. The hanging earrings of 
ballet girls that flourished with the movement of their heads and shoulders waved in the air like 
flowers of gold. l ° Silken veils, like autumn clouds, covered the faces of fairy maidens in their 
dancing. They glittered like so many moons shining in the courtyard. 1 1 Then people retired to their 
respective homes with loud applause for the queen's return with her husband from the other world. 

12 King Padma heard of his adventures from the reports of his subjects, and made his purificatory 
ablution with the waters of the four seas of the earth. 13 Then royal ministers and ministerial brahmins 
joined together in the act of his installation, like a synod of immortals meeting at the inauguration of 

1 4 The two Leelas continued in company with the king, describing with delight their respective 
adventures and the wisdom they had gathered thereby. 15 It was in this way that by grace of the genius 
of wisdom and their own experience, this King Padma and his two queens obtained prosperity equal 
to that of the three worlds. 1 6 The king, filled with the wisdom given to him by the goddess, in 
company with his consorts, continued to rule over his kingdom for thousands of years. 17 In their state 
of living liberation they reigned on earth for myriads of years. Then, receiving the perfect knowledge 
of the holy masters, they became wholly liberated after their deaths. 

18 The happy pair having jointly reigned over their delightful realm of ever increasing population, and 
which was graced by learned men and righteous people, knowing their own rights and duties of doing 
good to all mankind, became freed from the burden of their state affairs forever. 

Chapter 60 — Time & Reality Are Relative 

1 Vasishta said: — 

Prince, I have told you this story in order to remove your error of the phenomenal world. Remember 
this tale of Leela and renounce your misconception of the gross material world. 

2 The substantiality of phenomena is a nothing by itself. No pains are required to invalidate it. It is 
hard to disprove a reality, but there is no difficulty to efface a falsehood from the mind. 3 True 
knowledge consists in seeing phenomena as void and knowing the one emptiness to the sole unity and 
real entity. In the end, one loses himself in this infinite emptiness. 

4 When the self-born Brahma created the world from nothing, without the aid of any material or 
elemental body, it is obvious that there was an eternal void and that all these are only manifestations 
of the empty soul. 5 The same creative soul spread the seeds of its consciousness into the stream of 
creation, and these produce the images as they constantly appear to us, unless we take the pains to 
repress them. 6 The appearance of the world is only a perspective of the environment that is Divine 
Consciousness. It is contained in the small space of human consciousness within the soul, like in a 
transparent particle of sand. 

7 This being the case, then what is the essence of this false conception, and what are our desires to 
rely on it, and what can be the meaning of either destiny or necessity? 8 This entire whole that is 
visible to the eye is only false appearance, like magic. There is no truth or substance in a magic show. 

9 Rama said, "What a wonderful explanation of the world that you have given me! It refreshes my 
soul, like moonbeams revive the blades of grass that have been burnt down by a fire. 10 After so long, 
I have come to know the truly knowable: such as what and how it is, and the manner how, from 
where, and when it is to be known. n I have my peace and rest in pondering on this wonderful theory, 
and your elucidation of the doctrines of the Sruti scriptures." 

12 "But tell me this one thing to remove my doubt, as my ears are never satisfied drinking the nectar- 
like juice of your sweet speech. 13 How much time elapsed during the three births of Leela's husband? 
Was it the duration of a day and night in one case, and of a month in another, and the period of a 
whole year in the case of Viduratha? 14 Or did any one of them live for many years, and whether they 
were of short or longer durations according to the measure of men, gods or Brahma." 

15 "Please sage, kindly tell me this, because little hearing is not sufficient for me, like a drop of water 
is not enough to moisten the parched ground of summer heat." 

16 Vasishta said: — 

Know sinless Rama, that whoever thinks of anything in any manner at any place or time, he comes to 
feel the same in the same manner, and in the same place and time. 

17 Take for instance a destructive poison that becomes like ambrosia to venomous insects that take it 
for their dainty nourishment. Similarly, an enemy turns to a friend by your friendly behavior to him. 

18 The manner in which any being considers itself and all others for a length of time becomes the same 
they appear by its mode and habit of thinking, as if it were by an act of destiny. 19 The manner in which 
the active intellect represents a thing in the soul is imprinted in its consciousness of its own nature. 

20 When our consciousness represents a twinkling of the eye to extend over a kalpa age, we are led to 
believe a single moment is an age of long duration. 21 When we are conscious of or think a kalpa age 
to be only a twinkling, the kalpa age is thought to pass as quickly as a moment. A long night in our 
unconscious sleep appears as a moment upon waking. 22 The night appears to be a long age to the long 
suffering sick, while it seems like a moment in the nightly revels of the merry. So a moment appears 
as an age in the dream, and an age passes off as a moment in the state of unconsciousness. 

23 The notions of the resurrection of the dead and of one's reincarnation and being reborn in a new 
body, of his being a boy, youth or old man, and of his migrations to different places at the distance of 
hundreds of leagues are all only the phenomena of sleep and retrospective views in a dream. 

24 King Harish Chandra is said to have thought a single night to be a dozen years. The prince Lavana 
passed his long life of a hundred years over the space of a single night. 25 What was a moment to 
Brahma was the entire age of the life-time of Manu. What is a day to Vishnu constitutes the long 
period of the lifetime of Brahma. 26 The entire lifetime of Vishnu is only one day of sedate Shiva. One 
whose mind is motionless in fixed meditation is unconscious of the change of days and nights and of 
seasons and years. 

27 There is no substance and no substantive world in the mind of the meditative yogi to whom the 
sweet pleasures of the world appear bitter, as they are thought to be the bane of his true joy. 28 The 
bitter seems to be sweet by being thought to be so. What is unfavorable becomes favorable as that 
which is friendly comes to be unfriendly by being taken in their opposite senses. 

29 Thus Rama, it is by habitual meditation that we gain the abstract knowledge of things. We forget 
what we learned if we do not repeat and practice. 30 By their habit of thinking, some find everything in 
a state of positive rest, while the unthinking fall into the errors of the ever-moving world, like a boat 
passenger thinks the land and objects on the shore are moving around him. 31 The unthinking part of 
mankind, and those wandering in their error, think the world to be moving about them. But the thinking 
mind sees the whole as an empty void and full of phantoms, like one sees in his dream. 

32 It is false thought that shows white as black and blue. It is mistaken judgment that makes one rejoice 
or sorrow at the events of life. 33 The unthinking are led to imagine a house where there is none. The 
ignorant are infatuated with a belief in ghosts, as they are the killers of their lives. 34 It is 
reminiscence or memory that raises the dream as its consort and that represents things as they are 
presented to it by the thoughts of the waking state. 35 The dream is as unreal as the empty void abiding 
in the hollow receptacle of the intellectual soul. It spreads over the mind like the shadow of a cloud 
and fills it with images like those of a puppet-show under a magic lantern. 

36 Know the phenomena of the revolving worlds to be no more in reality than mere effects of the 
vibrations of the mind in the empty space of the soul, like the motions and gestures of imagined 
hobgoblins to the sight of children. 37 All this is only a magical illusion without any substance or basis 
of itself. All these imposing scenes of vision are only the empty and aerial sights of dreams. 

38 Just as a waking man beholds the wonderful world before him, so does a sleeping man see the 
same. Both of them resemble the unconscious pillar that finds images of statues engraved upon it. 

39 The Divine Spirit's great monument is the figure of the created world carved in itself, as if I see a 

troop of soldiers passing before me in my dream. 40 This waking world sleeps in the soul of Brahma 
and rises in his mind like the plant world springs from sap lying hidden in the earth that gives it its 
growth and spring bloom. 41 Likewise, creation lies hidden in and springs from the Supreme Spirit, 
like the brightness of gold ornaments is contained in and comes out of the material metal. 

42 Every atom of creation is settled in the fullness of Divine Spirit, just like all the members of the 
body are set in the person of their possessor. 43 The visible world has the same relation to the 
bodiless and undivided spirit of God as one fighting in a dream bears to his enemy (both believe in 
their reality, while both are unreal in their bodies). 44 Thus the real and unreal, the spirit and the 
world, all dwindles into emptiness at the great fantasy annihilation of creation, except the 
consciousness of God which comprises the world in itself. 

45 The causality of the One and the unreality of the world cannot both be true (since nothing unreal can 
come out of the real). Except Brahman, there is no other cause, whether Brahma the Creator or any 
other. The Divine Consciousness is the only cause and substance of its productions. 

46 Rama asked, "But what caused the citizens, counselors and ministers of Viduratha's royal house to 
appear in Leela's vision in the same manner as that of her lord the king?" 

47 Vasishta said: — 

All other thoughts are associated with the principal one in the intellect, in the same manner as high 
winds accompany a storm. 

48 The association of thoughts follows one another in a long and perpetual train and, one after the 
other, caused the succession of the sights of the ministers, citizens and subjects of the king in Leela's 
vision. 49 In this way the thought that the king was born of such and such a family naturally introduced 
the thoughts of his palace and city and of those that dwelt in them 50 It is vain to inquire into the cause 
and manner of consciousness and each combination of its thoughts. This is why it is called the gem of 
thoughts (chintamani, the wish- fulfilling jewel). It is always accompanied with its radiating thoughts 
like a brilliant gem with its rays. 

51 Padma thought to become a king like Viduratha, properly discharging the duties of his royal family. 
This constant thought of himself as such cast the mold of the mind and manner of Viduratha upon him. 

5 2 All animate beings of every kind are only models of their own thoughts, like looking-glasses 
showing their inner reflections to sight. 5 3 The mind fixed in meditation on God remains unshaken 
amidst the turmoil of the world and is filled with perfect rest and preserves the composure of the soul 
until its final liberation from the bondage of the body. 

54 But thoughts of fluctuating enjoyments of this world alternately represented in the mirror of the mind 
are like the shadows of passing scenes upon a looking glass. 55 Therefore it requires a great force of 
mind to overcome its worldly thoughts and turn them to the channel of truth, just like the greater force 
of a river's main current leads its tributaries to the ocean. 56 But when worldly and spiritual thoughts 
press upon the mind with equal force, the mind is greatly disturbed. Then the greater force leads it 
onward in one way or the other. 57 Such is the case with all the myriads of beings, whether they are 
living, dead or to come to life. The same accidents take place in the particles of all human minds. 

58 All this is the empty sphere of Consciousness, all quiet and without any basis or substratum. It is 
neither peopled nor filled by anything except its own native thoughts. 59 All these appear as dreams, 
even in our unsleeping states, and have no form or figure in the sight of the wise. The perception of 
their positive existence is only a misconception of their negative nonexistence. 60 There really exists 
only one omnipotent and all pervasive Spirit which shows itself in diverse forms like flowers, fruits 
and tree leaves all appearing from the same woody trunk. 61 He who knows the uncreated Brahman to 
be the measurer, measure and the thing measured to be all one and himself can never forget this 
certain truth of unity, nor ever fall into the dualism error of cause and effect. 

62 There is only one Being (sat) who is holy and without beginning and who, though he appears to 
have forms of light and darkness, and of space and time, never rises or sets anywhere. He is without 
beginning, middle or end. He remains like a vast expanse of water exhibiting itself in its waves and 
currents. 63 The notion of myself, yourself and the objective world are only expressions of our 
perverted understandings. It is only ignorance within the sheath of the mind, according as it imagines 
it to be, that shows the One as many. 

Chapter 61 — On the Origin of the World 

1 Rama said, "Please sage, explain to me how this error of believing in an objective world arises 
without a cause for such error?" 

2 Vasishta said: — 

Because the knowledge of all things is contained in our consciousness, it is plain that this eternal and 
uncreated self is the cause and container of them all at all times. 

3 That which has an insight or intuitive knowledge of all things, which are expressed by words and 
their meanings, is Brahma the soul and no other. Nothing that is meant by any significant term has a 
different form of its own. 4 As the quality of a bracelet is not different from its substance of gold, nor 
that of a wave from the water, so the expansion of the world is not distinct from the spirit of God. 

5 It is Brahma who is manifest in the form of the world, and not the world that appears as God. 
Similarly, gold displays itself in the form of a bracelet. It is not that the bracelet takes on the nature of 
gold. 6 As the whole is displayed in all its various parts, so the entire consciousness shows itself in 
all the various operations of the mind composing the world. 7 It is ignorance of the infinite and eternal 
spirit of God that exhibits itself as myself, yourself and the world itself in the mind. 

8 As the shades of different colors in gems are not different from the gems, so the notions of one's self 
and the world are the shades inherent in the same intellect. 9 Like waves appearing on the surface of 
the still waters of the deep, this so-called and meaningless creation is but a phase in Divine 

10 The Spirit of God does not reside in creation. Creation does not exist in the Divine Spirit. There is 
no such relation of part and whole between God and creation. 

11 One should meditate on his own consciousness as the form of Divine Consciousness. In his own 
consciousness of it, he will feel Divinity stirring within himself, as if stirred by the breath of a breeze. 

12 The minute particle of the empty intellect will then appear in its wonderful form of an emptiness 
within the empty space of his conscious mind. 13 He then finds this empty form stirring in himself like 
an airy spirit with its properly of feeling, like feeling the breath of air. 

14 Then God assumes a luminous form as the state of His own substantiality, and this is placed as a 
spark of fire in the sheath of the intellect. 1 5 The light then melts into water which is the same 
substance as itself. This fluid substance contains the properly of taste. 16 The same is condensed in the 
form of a solid substance, which is the same with the Divine Mind. This becomes the earth bearing in 
its bosom the property of smell. 17 Again God represents Himself to our intellect as one infinite and 
uniform duration. Measures in seconds and other divisions are only manifestations of the succession 
of our thoughts. 

1 8 The other ways in which God presents Himself to our intellects are that, He is holy, infinitely 
glorious, seen within us, and without beginning, middle or end. He has no rising or setting and exists 
of Himself without a substratum and as the substratum of all. 19 This knowledge of God is bliss itself, 
and His creation is identical with himself. Ignorance of God leads to knowledge of the objective 
world, and its extinction is the way to know the eternity of His existence. 

20 Brahma is conceived in our souls as He is represented to us by our consciousness, just like in our 
all comprehensive minds we know all other things according to our ideas of them. 21 Of these, only 
those things are true which we derive from our well-directed understanding. All those are untrue 
which the mind paints to us from the impressions of senses and the meanings of words that are 
incapable of expressing the nature of the indefinable and indescribable God. 

22 Know the unreal world which appears as real, and the reality of God which appears as unreality, to 
be of the manner of air in motion and at rest. The visible world is like moving air that appears true to 
those who have no knowledge of the invisible God, who is as calm as the still air underlying the 
ethereal air and its motions. 

23 A thing may appear different from another, and yet be the same with it. The light in the fire is the 
same fire. So the visible world arising from invisible Brahma appears as another reality even though 
it is same as the reality of God. 24 All things whether being or not being exist in God as their invisible 
and unknown source and cause. Just like clay in the earth is the cause of the would-be doll, the 
growing tree of a future carving, and the black powder of an ink not yet made. 2 5 One thing is 
exhibited as another in the great desert of the Divine Mind that shows the phenomena of the world like 
figures in a mirage. 26 The wise soul thinks this world as one with its source, Divine Consciousness. 
In the same way he considers a tree no way different from its parent seed. 

27 As the sweetness of milk, the pungency of pepper, the fluidity of water, and the motion of winds are 
the inseparable properties of their substances, 2 8 so this creation is inseparable from the spirit of 
Brahma. It is a mere form of the one Supreme Soul, beside which there is nothing in reality. 29 This 
world is the manifestation of the luster of the gem of the Divine Mind. It has no other cause except the 
essence of Brahma, which is nothing other than its material cause, the Supreme Soul itself. 3 ° The 
will, the mind, the individual soul, and its consciousness are all the offspring of Divine exercise of 
Consciousness. There is nothing that can be produced by exertion of any power without direction of 

3 1 There is nothing that rises or sets anywhere, or appears or disappears at anytime. Everything is 
unborn at all times and lies quiet in Divine Consciousness which is as solid as a massive rock. 32 It is 
imagination to explain things as formations of multitudes of combinations of atoms and to suppose 
every particle to be composed of minute infinitesimals because none of them could combine of 
themselves except by direction of the eternal mind. 33 All force resides in some living principle, just 
as the waking, sleeping and dreaming states appertain to the individual soul, and as the undulation of 
waves exists in the water or the current of the stream that lies hidden in it. 

34 When the individual soul feels renunciation towards worldly enjoyments, scriptures say it has 
reached its highest perfection. 35 As the mind is freed from its choice and dislike of things, so the soul 
is liberated by avoiding its egoism and personality. Then it no longer is conscious of the pain that 
attends future birth and reincarnation. 36 Whoever in his understanding comes to know this state of 
supreme and inexpressible joy, he is sure to overcome all his worldly appetites that bind him fast to 
this earth. 37 But whoever labors in his mind with affections to this world, he has to wander in it 
continually like in the whirlpool of a stream, and he destroys the supreme joy of his soul in his 
continuous turmoil. 

38 It was the lotus-born Brahma who was first conscious of his egoism and who, by the will of his 
mind, spread out this universe. 

Chapter 62 — Fate Is What Determines the Result of Action 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

These myriads of worlds and millennia of kalpa ages are no more real in themselves than our false 
computation of the millionth part of an atom or the twinkling of an eye. 2 It is our error that represents 
them as true to us, though they are as false as our calculation of those infinitesimals. 

3 These creations, whether past or future, follow one another in endless succession like overflowing 
currents of water with all the waves, eddies and whirlpools in them 4 The idea of these created 
worlds is as false as a delusive mirage that presents a stream of water flowing with strings of flowers 
fallen from the plants on the shore. 5 Perceived creation is as baseless as a city in a dream or a magic 
show, or like a mountain in fiction or an imaginary castle in the air. 

6 Rama said, "Sage, the drift of your reasoning leads to the establishment of the identity of the 
perceived creation with the creator, and that this unity of both is the belief of the learned and wise. 

7 Now tell me, what do you have to say with regard to material bodies as they exist on earth? What 
causes the body to be subject to the causes unknown to inner spirits?" 

8 Vasishta replied: — 

Divine Consciousness has an active, supernatural energy called the predominant Decree, Fate or 
Destiny which must come to pass and bear its command over all our actions and desires. 

9 She is invested from the beginning with irresistible and multifarious powers. She destines the 
manner in which everything is to take place and continue forever. 10 She is the essential cause of all 
essence, and the chief mover of the intellect. She is called the great power of powers and remains as 
the great viewer of all things. n She is called the great agency and the great producer of all events. 
She is known as the chief mover of occurrences, and she is the soul and source of all accidents, (chit 
shakti, power of consciousness; Mahasatta, Great Existence; Mahachiti, Great Intelligence; 
Mahashakti, Great Power; Mahadrishti, Great Vision; Mahakriya, Great Doing; Mahodbhava, Great 
Becoming, and Mahaspanda, Great Vibration). 

12 She whirls worlds like straw and bears her sway over gods and demons. She commands the naaga 
snakes and the mountain monsters to the end of time. 13 Sometimes she is thought of as an attribute of 
divine essence, remaining pictured in her ever varying colors in the hollow emptiness of Divine 

1 4 For the understanding of those ignorant in spiritual knowledge, the learned have explained that 
Brahma the Creator is identical with the Spirit of Brahma, and by destiny they mean his creation. 

1 5 The immovable spirit of Brahma appears to be full of moving creatures. The infinity of divine 
existence seems to teem with finite creation in the midst of it, like a grove of trees growing under the 
vault of the hollow sky. 16 The unawake spirit of God reflects various images in itself (as in a dream), 
like the reflection of a dense forest in the lens of a crystal stone. The creator Brahma, in the hollow 
sphere of the Divine Mind, understood these reflections as the prototype of the destined creation. 

17 Consciousness naturally exhibits a variety of forms in itself, just as the body of an embodied person 
exhibits its various members. The lotus-born Brahma took these various forms in itself to be the 

several parts in the great body of the cosmos. l 8 This foreknowledge of events imprinted in the 
Consciousness of God is called Destiny which extends over all things at all times. 

1 9 Destiny comprises the knowledge of the causes that move, support and sustain all things in their 
proper order, and that such and such a cause must produce such and such effect forever. 2 ° This 
destiny is the force or mobile power that moves all men, animals, plants and inanimate creations. It is 
the beginning or primary source of time and the motion of all beings. 21 It is combined with Divine 
Power, and this combination of them into one is the cause of the production and existence of the 

22 It is the union or conformity of human effort with the course of destiny or decree of God that is 
productive of certain ends which are respectively called their destiny and destined effects. 

23 What more do you have to ask me, Rama, with regard to destiny and self-exertion when I tell you 
that it is destined that all beings take themselves to their proper actions, in the destined or prescribed 
manner, in order to bring about the desired result? 

24 A person who relies on predestination, sitting idly and quietly under the belief that he is being fed 
by his fixed lot, is said to depend on his destiny alone (a fatalist). 25 By sitting idly and waiting on 
Providence for the whole of his life, he gains nothing and soon comes to lose his good sense and 
energy, and finally dies from the famine of his sole reliance upon destiny. 26 It is quite certain that 
whatever is destined must surely come to pass of its own accord, and that it is impossible to prevent 
it by the foresight of gods and men. 27 Yet the intelligent ought not cease to exert their activity and only 
rely on their fates. They must know that it is our effort that brings destiny into action. 

28 Destiny is inactive and abortive, without an active power to enforce it to action. It is human activity 
that produces effect or production in nature by the help of destiny. 29 Depend on destiny and remain 
both deaf and dumb as a doll. Be inactive and become dull and torpid as a block. Say, what is the 
good of this vital breath, unless it has its vitality and activity? 

30 It is good to sit quietly by restraining even the vital breath in yoga meditation. With such practice 
one can obtain his liberation. Otherwise, an inactive man is not to be called a yogi but an idler and a 
beggar. 3 l Both activity and inactivity are good for our liberation from pain, but the high minded 
esteem that to be better which saves them from the greater pain of regeneration. 3 2 This inactive 
destiny, meditation, is a type of the latent Brahma, and who so leans towards it by laying aside his 
busy course is truly installed in the supremely holy state of highest joy. 33 Inert destiny resides 
everywhere in the manner of Brahma, the latent soul in all bodies, and evolves itself in various 
shapes by means of activity in all its productions. 

Chapter 63 — No Duality; Only the Appearance of Forms of the One Divine Mind 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

The essence of Brahma is all in all and ever remains in every manner in everything in all places. It is 
omnipotence, omniform and the lord God of all. 2 This essence is the Spirit or Soul whose 
omnipotence develops itself sometimes in the form of intellectual activity and sometimes in the 
tranquility of soul. Sometimes it shows itself in the movement of bodies, and at others in the force of 
the passions and emotions of the soul. Sometimes as something in the form of creation, and at another 
as nothing in the annihilation of the world. 

3 Whenever it realizes itself anywhere in any form or state, it is then viewed in the same manner at the 
same place and time. 4 The absolute omnipotence manifests itself as it likes and appears to us. All its 
powers are exhibited in one form or another to our view and understandings. 

5 These powers are of many kinds, and are primarily concentrated in the Divine Soul or Spirit. The 
potentialities are the Active and Passive powers, also the Rational and Irrational and all others. 

6 These varieties of powers are the inventions of the learned for their own purpose and understanding. 
But there is no such distinction in Divine Consciousness. 7 There is no duality in reality. The 
difference consists in shape and not substance. Thus the waves in the waters of the sea and the 
bracelets formed of gold are no more than modifications of the same substances. 8 The form of a thing 
is said to be so and so not because of its reality but because of its appearance. We affirm that a rope 
is a snake, but we have neither the outward perception nor inner thought of a snake in it. Hence all 
appearances are delusions of sense. 

9 It is the Universal Soul that shows itself in some form or other to our deluded senses and 
understandings, and also according to our different apprehensions of the same thing. l ° Only the 
ignorant understand the omniform God to be all forms of things. The learned know the forms to be 
modifications of the various powers of the Almighty, and not the figures themselves. 

1 1 Whether forms appear real or unreal is to be known to men according to their different 
apprehensions, which Brahma is pleased to exhibit in any particular form to their minds and senses. 

Chapter 64 — Uncaused Brahma Creates Rules of Causation for Forms 

1 Vasishta resumed: — 

The Supreme Deity is the all-pervading spirit and the great God and Lord of all. He is without 
beginning or end and is identical with the infinite bliss of his translucent self-reflection. 2 It is from 
this supreme joy and purely intellectual substance that the individual soul and mind have their rise 
before their production of the Universe. 

3 Rama asked, "How could the self-reflection of Brahma, as the infinite spirit and one without a 
second, conceive in it a finite individual soul other than itself and which was not in being?" 

4 Vasishta replied: — 

The immense and transparent spirit of Brahma remained in a state of non-existence (asat), a state of 
ineffable bliss as seen by the adept yogi, but of formidable vastness as conceived by the uninitiated 
novice. 5 This state of supreme bliss, ever tranquil and Ml with the pure essence of God, is altogether 
indefinable and incomprehensible, even by the most proficient in divine knowledge. 

6 Thence springs a power (an aspect), like the germ of a seed, possessed of consciousness and energy 
which is called the living and conscious soul and which must last until its final liberation. 7 The vast 
empty sphere of this being's clear mirror of the mind reflects images of innumerable worlds set above 
one another, like statues engraved upon it. 

8 Rama, know that the individual soul is an extension of Divine Spirit, like the swelling of the sea and 
the burning of a candle when its flame is unshaken by the wind. 9 The individual soul is possessed of 
a finite awareness as distinguished from the clear and calm consciousness of the Divine Spirit. Its 
vitality is the nature of the living God, but it is only a flash of the empty consciousness of Brahma. 
1 ° Vitality is the essential property of the soul, resembling the inseparable properties of motion in 
wind, warmth in fire and coldness in ice. n When we forget the nature of Divine Consciousness and 
Spirit, our self-consciousness leaves us with a knowledge of ourselves and this is called the 
individual soul. 12 It is by means of this positive consciousness that we know our egoism or self- 
existence. It strikes us more glaringly than a spark of fire, and enlightens us to the knowledge of 
ourselves more than any other light. 

1 3 When we look up to heaven we see a blue vault beyond which our eyes have no the power to 
pierce. In the same way, when we inquire into the nature of soul, we cannot see beyond consciousness 
of ourselves. 14 Our knowledge of the soul is presented to us in the form of an ego that is known by its 
thoughts, like the empty sky appearing as a blue sphere because of the clouds. 15 Ego differentiates the 
soul from our ideas of space and time and stirs within it like the breath of winds by reason of its 
subjectivity of thoughts. 16 The subject of thoughts is known as ego. It is also called various other 
names like the intellect, the soul, the mind, illusion (may a) and nature (prakriti). 

17 The mind (chetas) which is the subject of thoughts contemplates on the nature of elementary matter, 
and thus becomes of itself the quintessence of the five elements. 1 8 The quintessential mind next 
becomes like a spark of fire and remains like a dim star, a nebula in the emptiness of the yet unborn 
universe. 19 The mind takes the form of a spark of fire by thinking on its essence, which gradually 

develops itself like a seed in the form of the cosmic egg by its internal force. 20 The same fiery spark 
figuratively called the cosmic egg (brahmanda) became like a snowball in water and conceived the 
great Brahma within its hollow womb. 

21 Then as sensuous spirits assume some bodily forms at pleasure, although they dissolve like a magic 
city in empty air, so this Brahma appeared to view in an embodied form. 22 Some of them appear in 
the form of immovable, and others in those of moving beings. Some assume the shapes of aerials or 
whatever their fondness leads them to choose for themselves. 

23 Thus in the beginning of creation, the first born living being had a form for himself as he liked. 
Afterwards he created the world in his form of Brahma or Virinchi ("Creator"). 24 Whatever the self- 
born and self-willed soul wishes to produce, the same appears immediately to view as produced of 
its own accord. 25 Brahma, originating in Divine Consciousness, was by his nature the primary cause 
of all without any cause of his own. He appointed the acts of men to be the cause of their transition 
from one state to another in the course of the world. 

26 Thoughts naturally rise in the mind to subside in itself, like water foaming, but acts done thereby 
bind us like passing froth or flying birds are caught by ropes and traps. 27 Thoughts are the seeds of 
action and action is the soul of life. Past acts produce future consequence, but inaction is attended 
with no result. 

28 The individual soul bears its vitality like a seed bears the germ in its bosom. This sprouts forth in 
future acts, like the seed in various forms of leaves, fruits and flowers of trees. 29 All other individual 
souls that appeared in the various forms of their bodies had such forms given to them by Brahma 
according to their acts and desires in pre-material creations in former kalpa ages. 

30 So people's own personal acts are the causes of their repeated births and deaths in this or other 
worlds. They ascend higher or sink lower by virtue of good or bad deeds that proceed from their 
hearts and the nature of their souls. 31 Our actions are the efforts of our minds and they shape our good 
or bad destinies according to their merit or demerit. 

All fate and luck in the existing world are the fruits and flowers of past acts, even of those done in 
prior kalpa ages. This is called their destiny. 

Chapter 65 — Nature of the Individual Soul as the Same as Universal Consciousness 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

At first Mind sprang from the supreme Cause of all. This mind is the active soul which resides in the 
Supreme Soul. 2 The mind hangs in doubt between what is and what is not, and what is right and what 
is wrong. It forgets the past by its willful negligence like the scent of a fleeting odor. 3 Yet there is no 
difference between these seeming contraries. The dualities of Brahma and the soul, the mind and 
illusion (maya), the agent and act, and the world of phenomena and that of ideals, all blend together in 
the unity of God. 

4 There is only one Universal Soul displaying its Consciousness like a vast ocean and extending its 
consciousness like an endless sea. 5 What is true and real shines forth amidst all that is untrue and 
unreal. So the subjective essence of the mind exists amidst all its airy and fleeting dreams in sleep. 
Thus the world is both true and untrue as regards its existence in God and its external phenomena. 

6 The false conception, either of the reality or unreality of the outer world, does not spring in the mind 
which is conscious only of its operations and not of outward phenomena. This conception is like the 
deception of a magic show and is attendant to all sensuous minds. 7 It is the long habit of thinking the 
unreal world to be real that makes it appear as such to the unthinking, like a protracted sleep makes its 
visionary scenes appear as true to the dreaming soul. It is the lack of reflection that causes us to 
mistake a man in a block of wood. 8 Lack of spiritual light misleads the mind from its rationality and 
makes it take its false imaginations for true, like children, through their fear and lack of true 
knowledge, are impressed with a belief of ghosts in shadows. 

9 The mind is inclined of its own tendency to assign an individual soul to the Divine Spirit which is 
devoid of name, form or figure and is beyond comprehension. 1 ° Knowledge of the living state 
(personality) leads to that of egoism which is the cause of reasoning. This again introduces sensations 
and finally the conscious body. n This bondage of the soul in body necessitates a heaven and hell for 
lack of its liberation. Then the acts of the body become the seeds of our endless reincarnations in this 

12 As there is no difference between the soul, consciousness and life, so there is no duality in the 
individual soul and consciousness, or in the body and its acts which are inseparable from each other. 

13 Acts are the causes of bodies and the body is not the mind. The mind is one with egoism, and the 
ego is the individual soul. The individual soul is one with Divine Consciousness and this soul is all 
and the lord God of all. 

Chapter 66 — Individual Souls Mistake Subjective for Objective 

I Thus Rama, there is one true essence which appears as many by our mistake. This variety is caused 
by the production of one from the other, as one lamp is lighted from another. 2 By knowing one's self 
as nothing, as it was before it came into being, and by considering the falsity of his notions, no one 
can have any cause for grief. 3 Man is only a being of his own conception. By getting rid of this 
concept, he is freed from his idea of the duality of the world, just as one wearing shoes perceives the 
whole earth he treads upon to be covered with skin. 4 As the plantain tree has no pith except its 
manifold coats, so there is no materiality to the world other than our false conceptions of it. 

5 Our births are followed by childhood, youth, old age and death, one after the other, and then opens 
the prospect of a heaven or hell to our view, like passing phantoms before the flighty mind. 6 As the 
clear eye sees bubbles of light in the empty sky, so the thoughtless mind sees the sky full of luminous 
bodies (which are only phantoms of the brain). 7 As the one moon appears as two to the dim sighted 
eye, so the intellect, corrupted by influence of the senses, sees a duality in the unity of the Supreme 
Spirit. 8 As the giddiness of wine presents the pictures of trees before the drunken eye, so does the 
inebriation of sensation present the phantoms of the world before the excited intellect. 9 Know the 
revolution of the visible world to resemble the revolving wheel of a potter's mill which they turn 
about in play like the rotating ball of a terrestrial globe. 

10 When the consciousness thinks of another thing as something other than itself, it falls into the error 
of dualism. But when it concentrates its thoughts within, it loses the sense of objective duality. 

II There is nothing beside Consciousness except the thoughts on which it dwells. Its sensations are all 
at rest as it comes to know the non-existence of objects. 

12 When the weak intellect is quiet by its union with the Supreme and by suppression of its functions, 
it is then called quiescent or indifferent (sansanta). 13 It is the weak intellect that thinks of external 
things, but sound understanding ceases all thoughts. It is a slight intoxication that makes one rave and 
revel about, while deep drinking is dead to all excitements. l 4 When sound and consummate 
understanding runs in one course towards its main reservoir of the Supreme, it becomes divested of 
its knowledge of the external things and, in the presence of the one and no other, it also loses its self- 
consciousness. 15 Perfected understanding finds the errors to which it is exposed by its sensation of 
the external things and comes to know that birth and life and all acts and sights of the living state are 
as false as dreams. 

16 The mind, being repressed from its natural flight, can have no thought of anything. It is lost in itself. 
When the natural heat of fire or motion of the wind become extinct, they are annihilated of themselves. 

1 7 Without the suppression of mental operations, the mind must continue in its misconceptions, like 
that of mistaking a rope for a snake through ignorance. 

18 It is not difficult to repress the action of the mind and rouse our consciousness in order to heal our 
souls of the malady of their mistaken notion of the world. 1 9 If you can succeed suppressing the 
desires of your restless mind at anytime, you are sure to obtain your liberation even instantly and 
without fail. 20 If you will only turn to the side of your subjective consciousness, you will get rid of 
the objective world in the same manner as one is freed from his fear of snake in a rope by his 

examination of the thing. 21 If it is possible to get rid of the restless mind, which is the source of all 
our desires, then it is possible for anyone to attain the chief end of liberation. 

22 When high minded men are seen to give up their lives like straws (in an honorable cause), there is 
no reason why they should be reluctant to abandon their desires for the sake of their chief good of 
liberation. 23 Remain unfettered by forsaking the desires of your greedy mind. What is the good of 
getting sensible objects that we are sure to lose? 24 The liberated are already in sight of the 
immortality of their souls and of God, like one who has fruit in his hand or sees a mountain visible 
before him. 

25 It is only the Spirit of God that abides in everything in these world appearances which rise to be 
seen like the waves of the waters of the great deluge. It is His knowledge that is attended with the 
supreme good of liberation. Ignorance of that Supreme Being binds the mind to the interminable 
bondage of the world. 

Chapter 67 — Lecture on Creation: Still Consciousness & Moving Thoughts 

1 Rama said, "Leaving the mind, please tell me more about the nature of the individual soul. What 
relation does it have to the Supreme Soul? How did the individual soul spring from the Supreme Soul 
and what is its essence?" 

2 Vasishta replied: — 

Know that Brahma is omnipresent and is the Lord of all at all times. He manifests himself in whatever 
attribute he assumes to himself of his free will. 3 The attribute which the Universal Soul assumes to 
itself in the form of perception (chetana) is known by the term "individual soul", which possesses the 
power of volition in itself. 

4 There are two causal principles combined with the individual soul, namely its predestination 
resulting from its prior acts and volitions and its later free will. These branch forth severally into the 
various causes of birth, death and existence of beings. 

5 Rama said, "Such being the case, tell me, O greatest of sages, what does this predestination mean? 
What are these acts and how do they become the causal agents of subsequent events?" 

6 Vasishta replied: — 

Consciousness {chit) has its own nature or properties of vibration and rest, like the movement and 
stillness of wind in the air. Its agitation is the cause of its action. Otherwise it is calm and quiet as a 
dead block of stone. 7 Its vibration appears in the fluctuations of the mind and its calmness in the lack 
of mental activity and exertions, as in the detachment of the stillness of yoga meditation. 

8 The vibrations of consciousness, which are the movements of thoughts, lead to its continual rebirths; 
its quietness settles it in the state of the immovable Brahma. The movement of thought is known to be 
the cause of the living state and all its actions. 9 This vibrating intellect is the thinking Soul, and it is 
known as the living agent of actions, the primary seed of the universe. l ° This secondary soul then 
assumes a luminous form according to the light of its thoughts, and afterwards becomes many and 
diverse at its will and through the pulsations of the primary consciousness all over the creation. n The 
pulsating intellect or soul, having passed through many transformations, is at last freed from its motion 
and migration. Some souls pass through a thousand births and forms while others obtain their 
liberation in a single birth. 12 The human soul, being a pulsating intellect, is of its own nature prone to 
assume dualism So it becomes its own cause of its reincarnations and sufferings, as also of its 
transient bliss or misery in heaven or hell. 

13 As the same gold is changed into the forms of bracelets and other things, and as the same gross 
matter appears in the different forms of wood and stone, so the uniform soul of God appears as 
multiform according to his various modes and attributes. 14 An error of the human mind makes it view 
the forms as realities. It is a fallacy that causes one to think his soul, which is free from birth and 
form, is born, lives and dies, just like a man sees a city rise and fall in his delirium. 

15 The moving, varying intellect, ignorant of its unity with the unchangeable reality of God, and also 
desiring its enjoyment peculiar to its varied state, falsely conceives its unreal ego-identity as reality. 

16 As Lavana, the King of Mathura, falsely thought he was an outcaste tribal, so consciousness thinks 

on its own different states of existence and that of the world. 17 A11 this world is the phantom of an 
false imagination, O Rama! It is no more than the swelling of the waters of the deep. 18 Consciousness 
is always busy exercising the intellect of its own intelligences and the innate principles of its action. 
It is like the sea seen swelling with its waters moving of themselves in waves. 19 The intellect is like 
the water in the wide expanse of Brahma. Its movement raises the waving thoughts in the mind, 
resembling the bubbles of water, and produces the revolutions of individual souls like eddies in the 
sea of this world. 20 Know your soul, O gentle Rama, to be a phenomenon of the all pervading Brahma 
who is both the subject and object of his consciousness, and who has placed a particle of himself in 
you, like the breath of a mighty lion. 

21 The intellect with its consciousness constitutes the individual soul, and the soul with the will forms 
the mind. Its knowing power is understanding and its retentiveness is called its memory. Its 
subjectivity of selfishness is called egoism, and its error is called illusion (maya). 

22 The mind by its imagination stretches out this world which is as false as the phantom of paradise or 
a city drawn in air. 23 The objective knowledge of the world in the mind is as false as the appearance 
of chains of pearls in the sky, or like visionary scenes in a dream. 24 The soul, ever pure and self 
sufficient in its nature, remaining in its own state of tranquility, is not perceived by the misdirected 
mind dwelling on its delusive dreams. 

25 The objective world is called waking (Jagata) because it is perceived in the waking state of the 
soul. The subjective mind is allied to sleep (swapna) because the mind is active during sleeping and 
dreaming states. Ego is related to deep sleep (susupta) when we are unconscious of ourselves. The 
fourth state or pure Consciousness {turiya or turya) is the trance or hibernation of the soul. 

26 That which is above these four conditions is the state of ultimate bliss: ecstasy. It is by reliance on 
that supremely pure essence of God that one is exempt from all his causes of grief and sorrow. 

27 Everything is displayed in Him and all things are absorbed in Him This world is neither a reality 
here nor there. It presents only the false appearance of strings of pearls in the sky. 

28 And yet God is said to be the cause and substratum of all these unobstructed phantoms rising to 
view, just as empty air is said to be the receptacle for rising trees. Thus the non-causing God is said 
to be the cause of this uncaused world which only exists in our illusive conceptions and presents 
itself to our delusive sensations of it. 29 As a polished piece of iron reflects a grosser piece, so do our 
finer or inner sensations take the representations of the gross forms of their particular objects. 
30 These sensations are conveyed to the mind, then to the individual soul and intellect in the same 
manner as the roots supply sap to the stem, then to the branches, and lastly to the fruits of trees. 31 As a 
seed produces fruit and the fruit contains the seed in itself, so the intellect producing the mind and its 
thoughts can not get rid of them, but is contained in and is reproduced by them in successive 

3 2 There is some difference between the comparison of the unconscious seed and tree with the 
conscious intellect and mind, but the thoughts of the creator and creation, like the seed and tree, 
reproduce one another without end. 3 3 There is this difference between the unconscious seed and 
conscious intellect: the former continually reproduces itself, while the latter ceases its process upon 
attainment of liberation. Yet the ideas of creator and creation reproduce each other without end. 

34 Yet our understanding shows it as clearly as sunlight reveals forms and colors of objects: that there 
is one eternal God of truth who is of the form of intellectual light and who shows the forms of all 
things that proceed from him 

3 5 As a hole dug in the ground presents a hollow, so the reasoning of every system of sound 
philosophy establishes the existence of the transcendental void as the cause of all. 36 As a prismatic 
crystal represents various colors in its prisms, without being tinged by them, so the transparent 
essence of Brahma shows the groups of worlds in its hollow bosom without its connection with them 

37 The Universal Soul is the source, and not the substance of all these vast masses of worlds, just as 
the seed is the embryo and not the matter of the trees and plants and their fruits and flowers that grow 
from them. 

38 Rama said, "O how wonderful is this world which presents its unreality as a reality to us in all its 
endless forms! Though situated in the Divine Self, it appears to be quite apart from it. O how it makes 
its minuteness seem so very immense to us! 39 1 see how this shadowy scene of the world appearing in 
the Divine Soul and becoming like an orb by virtue of the ideal particles (tanmatras) of the divine 
essence in it. I find it like a snow ball or icicle made of frozen frost." 

40 "Now tell me sage, how do the spiritual particles increase in bulk? How was the body of the self- 
born Brahma produced from Brahman? Tell me also how these objects in nature come into existence 
in their material forms?" 

41 Vasishta replied: — 

This form which sprang of itself from its own essence is too incredible and is without parallel. It is 
altogether inconceivable how something is produced of its own conception. 

42 Just imagine, O Rama, how the unexpanded phantom of a vetala ghost swells huge in the sight of 
fearful children. Then in the same manner imagine the appearance of the living spirit from the entity of 
Brahma. 4 3 This living spirit is a development of Brahma, the Universal Soul. It is holy and a 
commensurable and finite being. Having a personality of its own, it remains as an impersonal 
unreality in the essence of the self-existent God. Afterwards, being separated from its source, it has a 
different name given to it. 

44 As Brahma, the all extended and infinite soul, wills and becomes the definite individual soul, so the 
living spirit, by its volition, afterwards becomes the mind. 45 The mind, which is the principle of 
exercise of intellect, takes a form of its own. Likewise, life assumes an airy form in the midst of 
emptiness. 46 The wakeful living god, without anything whereby we measure time, is yet conscious of 
its course by means of his thoughts. He has the notion of a brilliant icicle of the form of the future 
cosmic egg in his mind. 47 Then the individual soul feels in itself the sense of its consciousness and by 
thinking "What ami?" is conscious of its egoism. 

48 Next this god finds in his understanding knowledge of the word "taste" and gets the notion of it 
becoming the object of a particular organ of sense, to be hereafter called "the tongue." 4 9 The 
individual soul then finds out in his mind the meaning of the word "light," which was afterwards to 
sparkle in the eye, the particular organ of sight. 5 ° Next the god comes to know in his mind the 
properly of smell and the organ of smelling, and also the substance of earth to which it appertains as 

its inseparable property. 5 l In this manner the individual soul becomes acquainted with the other 
sensations and the organs to which they appertain as their inseparable properties and objects. 

52 The unsubstantial living spirit which derives its being from the essence of the substantial Brahma, 
comes next to acquire the knowledge of sound, the object of the organ of hearing, and the property of 
air. 53a It then comes to understand the meaning of the word touch as the medium of feeling, and also 
to know the tongue as the only organ of taste. 53b It finds the properly of color to be the peculiar object 
of the eye, the organ of sight, and that smell is an object peculiar to the nose, the organ of the sense of 
smelling. 54 The individual soul is thus the common receptacle of the sensations, and source of the 
senses, which it develops afterwards in the organs of sense in the body. It perceives the sensation of 
sensible objects through the perceptive holes that convey their perceptions into the sensorium of the 

55 Such, O Rama, is how it was with the first animated being. It remains like this with all living 
animals. All sensations are represented in the Soul of the world in its spiritual form {ativahika) 
called the subtle body or astral body (sukshma or lingadeha). 56 The nature of this abstruse essence is 
as indefinable as that of the spirit. It appears to be in motion when it really is at rest, as in our idea of 
the soul. 57 As measure and dimensions are foreign to our notion of Brahma, the all conscious Soul, so 
they are quite foreign to spirit also, which is no more than the motive power of the soul. 58 As the 
notion of the spiritual is distinct from material and corporeal, so the notion of Brahma is quite apart 
from everything, except that of his self-consciousness. 

5 9 Rama said, "If consciousness is identical with Brahma, and our consciousness of ourselves as 
Brahma, make us identical with Brahma Himself, then what is the use of devising a duality of the soul, 
or of talking of the liberation and final absorption of the one in the other?" 

60 Vasishta replied: — 

Rama, your question is irrelevant at this time when I was going to prove another thing. Nothing can be 
appropriate out of its proper time and place, as the untimely offering of flowers is not acceptable to 
the gods. 61 A word full of meaning becomes meaningless out of its proper place, just like the offering 
of flowers to gods and guests out of their proper time. 62 There is a time to introduce a subject and 
another to hold silence over it. Everything becomes fruitful in its proper season. 63 But to resume our 

The individual soul afterwards appears from Him like the human soul appears in dreaming, and the 
individual soul thought in himself that he was the great father of created beings in time to come. 64 He 
uttered the syllable Om and was conscious of its meaning in his mind, which soon displayed all forms 
of beings to his mental vision. 65 A11 these were unrealities displayed in the empty sphere of the 
Divine Mind. The shadowy world seemed like a huge mountain floating in the air before him 

66 It was neither born of itself nor was it made by Brahma. It is not destroyed at anytime by any other 
power. It was Brahma himself, appearing like the phantom of city in the sky. 67 As the living Brahma 
and other spiritual beings are unreal in their nature, so also the essences of other beings, from the big 
giant to the little ant, are only mere unrealities in their substance. 68 It is our false understanding that 
represents these unrealities as real ones to us. Clear understanding will find all things, from the great 

Brahma down to the minutest insect, to vanish entirely from its sight. 

69 The same cause that produces Brahma also produces insects. It is the greater depravity of the mind 
that causes its rebirth in the contemptible forms of worms. 70 The living being possessed of a rational 
soul and devoted to the cultivation of the mind attains to the state of man. He then acts righteously for 
attaining a better state in after life. 

71 It is wrong to suppose that one's elevation is the result of the merit of his acts, and his degradation 
to the condition of worms to result from his former acts of demerit, because there is the same particle 
of consciousness in both. This being known will destroy the mistaken difference between the great 
and small. 7 2 The notions of the measurer, measure and measurable are not separate from 
consciousness (or mind). Therefore the controversy between unity and duality is as futile as the horns 
of a rabbit or a lake of lotuses in the air. 

73 It is our misconception of blissful Brahma that produces the wrong notion of solid substances in us. 
This imagination of our own making binds us like silk-worms are bound in cocoons formed by their 
own saliva fluid. 

74 The knower perceives everything in his mind as revealed by Brahma. The knower meets with 
everything as allotted by God for his share. 75 It is the immutable law of nature that nothing can be 
otherwise than what it is ordained to be. There is nothing in nature that can change its nature for a 
minute in a whole kalpa age. 76 And yet this creation is a false phantom, and so is the growth and 
dissolution of all created beings, as is also our enjoyment of them. 

77 Brahma is pure, all pervading, infinite and absolute. It is only for our misery that we take him for 
impure matter and unreal substance, and as definite and limited pluralities. 7 8 It is the spoiled 
imagination of children that fancies water and its waves to be different things and makes a false 
distinction between those which really are the same thing. 79 It is His undivided self that expands 
itself in visible nature, and which appears like a duality, like waves and the sea, and bracelets and 
gold. Thus He of himself appears as other than himself. 

80 We are led to imagine the visible and changing world as having sprung from the invisible and 
immutable spirit which manifests itself in the form of the mind that produced the ego. Thus we have 
the visible from the invisible, and the mind and the ego from the same source. 81 Mind joined with ego 
produces notions of elementary principles or elemental particles that the individual soul, combined 
with its intellect, derives from the main source of Brahma, and of which it formed the phenomenal 

8 2 Thus the mind being realized from Brahma sees before it whatever it imagines. Whatever 
consciousness thinks upon, whether it is a reality or unreality, the same comes to take place. The 
reflection truly passes into reality. 

Chapter 68 — Story of the Demoness Karkati, Vishuchika (Cholera) & Suchi (Needle); Her 


1 Vasishta said: — 

Hear me relate to you, Rama, an old story bearing upon this subject and relating to a difficult question 
that was resolved by a rakshasi (female demon). 

2 There lived on the north of Himalaya a heinous rakshasi named Karkati, a crooked crab, who was as 
dark as ink and as stalwart as a rock, with limbs strong enough to split the sturdy oak. 3 She was also 
known as Vishuchika or Choleric Pain, by which she was ever afflicted, and which had reduced her 
frame like that of Vmdhya Hill which was pushed down (by the curse of Agastya). 4 Her eyeballs 
were blazing like fires. Her stature reaching halfway to the sky. She was covered by a blue garment, 
like the shade of night wrapping the atmosphere. 5 A white cloak covered her head like a cloud 
fragment. The long erect hairs of her head stood like a dark cloud on her crest. 6 Her eyes flashed like 
lightning, and her sharp hooked nails glistened like sapphires. Her legs were as long as tamara trees, 
and her loud laughter was like a burst of frost. 7 A string of dried bones decorated her body like a 
wreath of flowers. Traces of dead bodies adorned every part of her body. 8 She frolicked in the 
company of vetala ghosts, with human skulls hanging down her ears like earrings. When she stretched 
out her arms she looked like she was going to pluck the sun from his sphere. 

9 Her huge body lacked its necessary food, causing her stomach fire to blaze like an undersea flame 
that the waters of the deep are unable to quench. 10 Nothing could ever satisfy the insatiable hunger of 
this big bellied monster, or satisfy her licking tongue that was always stretched out like a flame of 
fire. n She thought to herself, "O, if just once I could to the land of Asia (Jambudwipa), I would 
devour all its men in one swoop and feast on them continually like an undersea fire upon the waters. 

12 As clouds cool burning sands by their rain, so will I allay the burning fire of my hunger there. It is 
settled as the best plan to support my life at this critical moment." 

13 "All men are well guarded by their mantras, medicines, austerities, devotions and charities from all 
evils of the world. Therefore it is impossible for anybody to destroy the indestructible devotee. 14 I 
will perform the most rigorous austerities with an unflinching heart and mind, because it is by 
intensity of effort that we may gain what is otherwise hard to be had." 

15 Having thought so, she went to an inaccessible mountain for the purpose of destroying all animal 
beings. 16 She climbed to the top of the mountain, scrambling over it with her hands and feet, and 
stood on it with her body looking a cloud and her eyeballs flashing like lightning. 17 Having reached 
the summit, she made her ablution and then sat in her tapas. Her steadfast eyeballs resembled the two 
orbs of the sun and moon fixed on one object. 18 She passed many a day and month there, and saw the 
course of many a season and year. She exposed her huge body to the rigor of heat and cold, like the 
hill itself (on which she sat). 19 She with her huge black body remained unmoved as a thick dark cloud 
on the mountain top. Her jet black hairs stood up as if to touch the sky. 

20 Seeing her body beaten by the blasts and covered with nothing but her ragged skin, and her hairs 
standing up to their end, tossed to and fro by the raging winds, while the twinkling of her eyelids shed 
a whitish glare on her dark frame, God Brahma appeared before her. 

Chapter 69 — Brahma Declares Karkati's Tapas Complete, Grants Her Boon to Be a Pin to 

Cause Pain 

1 Vasishta resumed: — 

After the passing of a thousand years, Brahma appeared to Karkati in order to put an end to the 
intensity of her austerities and crown her with success and the reward of her tapas. 2 She saluted him 
internally in her mind and remained fixed in her position thinking about the boon she should beg of 
him for allaying her keen appetite. 3 She soon recollected a certain request, which she should present 
to her complying god. It was to transform her soft and flexible form to the shape of an inflexible iron 
needle with which she could torment all living beings. 

4 At Brahma's bidding, she thought in herself, "I will become as thin as a minute pin in order to enter 
imperceptibly into the hearts of animals, like the fragrance of flowers enters the nostrils. 5 By this 
means will I suck blood from the heart of beings to my heart's satisfaction. In this way my hunger will 
be satisfied and my appetite gratified to the greatest delight of my soul." 

6 As she was thinking in this manner, the god discovered her sinister motives, contrary to the character 
of a yogi, and approached her with a voice resembling the roaring of clouds. 

7 Brahma said, "Daughter Karkati of the rakshasa race, who sits here like a cloud on the inaccessible 
top of this mountain, know that I am pleased with your tapas and bid you now to raise yourself and 
receive the boon that you desire of me." 

8 Karkati answered, "O Lord of the past and future! If you are inclined to grant my request, then please 
confer on me the boon of transforming my un-iron-like body to the form of an iron needle." 

9 Vasishta said: — 

The god pronounced "Be it so," and added, "You will be like a pin (Suchi) and you shall be called 
choleric pain (Vishuchika) because you give pain to all bodies. 10 You shall be the cruel cause of 
acute pain to all living beings, particularly to the intemperate and hard-working fools and loose 
libertines who are destined to be your devoted victims. n Moreover shall you molest the dwellers of 
unhealthy districts, and the practitioners of malpractices by entering their hearts with your infectious 
breath, and by disturbing their sleep and deranging the liver and other intestinal parts of the body. 
12 You shall be of the form of wind (in the bowels) and cause bile and flatulence under the different 
names of colic diseases, and attack the intemperate both among the wise and unwise. 1 3 The wise, 
when attacked by you, will be healed by repeating this magical mantra, which I will here propound 
for their benefit." 

14 "The mantra runs thus: 'There lives Karkati, the rakshasi, in the north of the snowy mountain. Her 
name is Vishuchika, and it is for repelling her power that I repeat this mantra. Om, I bow to hring, 
hrang and ring, rang (the powers of Vishnu) and invoke the Vaishnavi powers to remove, destroy, root 
out, drive away this choleric pain far beyond the Himalayas, and afar to the orb of the moon. Om and 
swaha, be it so.' " 

"Let these lines be tied as an amulet on the left arm 15 Then rub the painful part with the palm of that 
hand, and think the colic Karkati to be crushed under the mallet of this amulet and driven back beyond 

the hills with loud wailing. 1 6 Let the patient think the medicinal moon is seated in his heart and 
believe himself to be freed from death and disease, and his faith will save his life and heal his pain. 

17 When the attentive adept, who having purified himself with sprinkling water in his mouth, repeats 
this formula, he succeeds in a short time to remove the colic pain altogether." 

18 Then, after delivering this effective amulet to the spiritual masters (siddhas) attending upon him, the 
lord of the three worlds disappeared in the air. He went to his splendid seat in heaven where he was 
received by God Indra who advanced to hail him with his praises. 

Chapter 70 — Karkati as Suchi, the Needle of Colic and Cholera 

1 Vasishta continued: — 

Now this Karkati who had been as tall as a mountain-peak, and a rakshasi of the blackest kind, 
resembling a thick and dark cloud of the rainy season, gradually began to fade away and grow leaner 
and leaner day by day. 2 Her gigantic cloud-like form was soon reduced to the shape of a tree branch 
which afterwards became like the figure of a man, and then the measure of only a cubit. 3 It next 
became the length of a span in its height, and then of a finger's length in all. Growing by degrees 
thinner and thinner like grain, it became at last as lean as a needle or a pin. 4 Thus she was reduced to 
the thinness of a needle, fit only to sew a silken robe. By her own desire that could change a hill to a 
grain of sand, she had become as lean as the filament of the lotus flower. 

5 Thus the non-metallic Karkati was transformed into the form of Suchi, a black and slender iron 
needle that contained all her limbs and organs of her body and conducted her in the air anywhere she 
liked. 6 She saw herself as an iron pin, having neither substance nor length nor breadth of her body. 
7 Her mind with its power of thought appeared as bright as a golden needle, like a streak of sapphire 
impregnated by sunshine. 8 Her rolling eyeballs were as dark as the spots of black clouds moved to 
and fro by the winds. Her sparkling pupils, piercing through their tenuous pores, gazed at the bright 
glory (of God). 9 She had observed the vow of silence in order to reduce the plumpness of her person, 
and her face radiated with joy at becoming as lean as the filament of a feather. 10 She saw a light 
descending on her from the air at a distance, and she was happy to find her inner spirit to be as subtle 
as air. n With her contracted eye brows, she saw the rays of light extending to her from afar, which 
caused the hairs on her body to stand up like those of babies at bathing. 

12 Her grand energy channel called Brahma nadi or sushumna rose up to its cavity in the head called 
the Brahma randhra in order to greet the holy light, like the filaments of the lotus rise to receive 
sunlight and heat. 13 Having subdued the organs of her senses and their powers, she remained as one 
without an organic frame and identified with her individual soul. She resembled the intelligent 
principle of the Buddhists and logicians (tarkikas) which is unseen by others. 14 Her minuteness 
seemed to have produced the minutiae of minute philosophers called the Siddhantas. Her silence was 
like that of the wind confined in a cave. Her slender form of a puny pin resembled the breath of 
animal life which is imperceptible to the eye. 15 The little that remained of her body was as thin as the 
last hope of man. It was like the pencil of an extinguished flame of a lamp that has heat without light. 

16 But alas! How pitiable was her folly, which a first she could not understand. She was wrong to 
choose the form of a slender pin for herself in order to gratify her insatiable appetite. 17 Her object 
was to have her food and not the contemptible form of a pin. Her heart desired one thing, and she 
found herself in another form that was of no use to her purpose. 18 Her silliness led her to make the 
unwise choice of a needle shape for herself. So it is with the short witted. They lack the sense of 
judging beforehand about their future good. 19 An arduous attempt to accomplish a desired object is 
often attended by a different result. Even success on one hand becomes a failure on another. In the 
same way a mirror is soiled by the breath while it shows the face to the looker. 

20 How be it, having renounced her gigantic form, the rakshasi soon learnt to be content with her 

needle form, although she viewed her transformation as worse than her dissolution itself. 2 1 But see 
the contradictory desires of the infatuated who distaste in a trice what at one time they fondly wished. 
This fiend was disgusted at her needle form instead of her monstrous figure. 22 As one dish of food is 
easily replaced by another, suiting the taste of the gourmand, so this fiend did not hesitate to shun her 
gigantic body, which she took to taste the heart blood of animals in her pin form. 23 Even death is 
delightful to the giddy headed when they are over fond of something else. The minimum of a meager 
needle was desirable to the monstrous fiend to gratify her fiendish desire. 

24 Now this needle took the rarefied form of air and moved about after all living beings as the colic 
wind in quest of sucking animal gore. 25 Its body was like fiery heat and its life the vital breath of 
animals. Its seat was in the sensitive heart, and it was as swift as the particles of solar and lunar 
beams. 26 It was as destructive as the blade of a deadly sword, and as fleet as vapors flying in air. It 
penetrated bodies in the minute form of odor. 27 It was ever bent to do evil, like an evil spirit, as she 
was now known by that name. Her sole object was to kill the lives of others at her pleasure. 

28 Her body divided into two halves; one was as fine as a silken thread and the other as soft as a 
thread of cotton. 29 Suchi ranged all about the ten sides of the world in her two forms and pierced and 
penetrated into the hearts of living beings with all her excruciating pains. 30 Karkati gave up her 
former big body, and took the form of the acute and small needle in order to accomplish all these 
purposes of hers, whether they be great or little. 31 To men of little understanding, a slight business 
becomes an arduous task. The foolish fiend had recourse to her austerities in order to do the mean 
work of a needle. 3 2 Again, however good and great, men can hardly get rid of their natural 
disposition. The great rakshasi performed her austere tapas in order to become a vile pin for 
molesting mankind. 

33 Now as Suchi was wandering about in the sky, her aerial form which was big with her heinous 
ambition disappeared in air like vapor, or like a thick cloud in autumn. 34 Then entering in the body of 
some sensualist or weak or too fat a person, this inward colic flatulence of Suchi assumes the shape 
of cholera. 35 Sometimes she enters the body of a lean person, but also in those of healthier and wise 
people, first appearing as a choleric pain, then becoming real cholera at last. 36 She is often delighted 
to take her seat in the hearts of the ignorant. But afterwards she is driven back by good acts and 
prayers, and mantras and medicines of the wise. 

37 In this manner she continued many years in her rambles. Sometimes her two-part body (pin and 
cholera) flies in the air, but most often she creeps low on the ground. 38 She lies concealed in the dust 
of the ground, and under the fisted fingers of hands. She hides herself in sunbeams, in air and in the 
threads of cloths. 39 She is hidden in the intestines, entrails and genitals. She resides in the bodies of 
pale and ash colored persons. She lives in the pores, lines and lineaments of the body, and also in dry 
grass and in the dried beds of rivers. 40 She has her seat among the indigent, and in the naked and 
uncovered bodies of men, and in those who are subject to hard breathing. She dwells in places 
infested by flies and of obstructed ventilation, and also in green verdures excepting only mango and 
wood-apple trees. 41 She lurks in places scattered with bones and joints of animal bodies, and such as 
are disturbed by violent winds and gusts of air. She lies in dirty places, and in cold and icy grounds, 
and likewise in polluted cloths and places polluted by them. 42 She sits in holes and hollow places, 

withered trees, and spots infested by crows, flies and peacocks; also in places of dry, humid and high 
winds and in benumbed fingers and toes. 43 She is in cloudy regions, in cavernous districts of the form 
of rotten bodies, in regions of melting and driving snows, and in marshy grounds abounding in anthills 
and hills of malura trees. 44 She exhibits herself in the mirage of desert sand and in wildernesses 
abounding with ravenous beasts and snakes. Sometimes she is seen in lands infested by venomous 
reptiles, disgusting leeches and worms. 45 She frequents stagnant pools soiled by dry leaves and those 
chewed by pisacha ghosts. She haunts hovels beside road crossings where passengers halt and take 
shelter from cold. 46 She rambles in all places, everywhere leeches suck the blood of men, and vile 
people tear them with their nails and hold them in their fists to feed upon them. 47 In this manner she is 
everywhere in the landscape of cities, until she is tired with her long journey through them. 

48 Then she stops in her course like a tired bullock whose body is hot from travelling through towns 
with loads of cotton and utensils on its back. 49 She lays down to rest in some hidden place, like a 
needle tired with continued sewing. There she drops down like thread from the hand of the sewer. 
50 A hard needle held in the hand of the sewer never hurts his finger, because a servant, however 
sharp he may be, is never faithless or injurious to his master. 5 1 An iron needle, grown old in its 
business of stitching, was at last lost by itself, like the rotten plank of a boat bearing the burdensome 
ballast of stones in it. 52 It wandered about on all sides of its own accord and was driven to and fro 
like chaff by the driving winds, according to the course of nature. 

53 Someone takes it up and feeds the last end of a thread in its mouth. The malady of cholera is caught 
by those human parasites who glut themselves with food supplied by the sap of another. 54 The malady 
of colic, like the needle, is ever fond of feeding with its open mouth on the pith of others. It 
continually finds the thread-like heartstring of some body put into its hole. 55 Thus the strong bodies of 
greedy and heinous beings are nourished by the sap of the weak and innocent, just like colic disease 
preys on the lean bodies of the poor, and the sharp needle is supported by the thin thread of the needy 
(who cannot afford to buy new suits). 56 Though the heart of Suchi, like the hole of the needle, was to 
receive the thread-like sap of the patient's heart, yet her power to pierce it was like that of the sewing 
needle, which is as potent as the piercing sunbeams to penetrate into the toughest substances. 

57 Suddenly and at last, Suchi came to find the fault of her wrong choice for a puny body which was 
filled with her scanty fare of a bit of thread. She began to repent of her folly. 5 8 However, she 
continued with all her might to trudge on in her accustomed course of pricking and piercing the bodies 
of others. In spite of her great regret, she could not avoid the cruelty of her nature. 59 The sewing man 
cuts and sews the cloth agreeably to his own liking. But the weaver of destiny weaves the long loom 
of lengthened desires in all bodies and hides their reason under the garb of her own making. 

60 The colic Suchi went on like the sewing needle in her business of piercing the hearts of people by 
hiding her head, just like it is the practice of robbers to carry on their rogueries by covering their 
faces. 61 She, like the needle with the sewing thread behind it, raises her head to make and look at the 
loop-hole that she should penetrate like burglars making and marking holes in the wa